Rosenker Extols Mandatory PFDs, Training for Recreational Boating

National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker recently addressed the Western States Boating Administrators Association Conference (WSBAA) on advancing recreational boating safety on the nation's waterways.

Rosenker pointed out that the Western States with a few exceptions have accomplished 75-100 percent of the actions recommended by the board. This includes state boating programs that include a mandatory boating safety education program, mandatory personal flotation device (PFD) wear for children and for persons aboard personal watercraft (PWC), and training for persons renting PWC so they have some basic information on how to safely operate their machine.

"But even with all of these important accomplishments, much remains to be done," Rosenker said. "Recreational boating safety continues to be an extremely important area of focus of the NTSB."

Rosenker also noted that it was the Western States that challenged the board to address the issue of increased wearing of PFDs. He reemphasized the importance of the board's stance on recreational boating safety by keeping this critical safety issue on the board's list of "Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements for 2009."

The Coast Guard estimates about 70 percent of accidents involve factors that could have been controlled by the operator and 80 percent of the fatalities occurred on boats operated by individuals who had not completed a boating safety education course.

"Mandatory education will prepare boaters for a lifetime of safe recreational boating enjoyment," Rosenker said. "It is imperative that all recreational boat operators demonstrate a clear understanding of boating safety rules, and an ability to appropriately operate their vessel."

Rosenker challenged the conference attendees to continue to do more for recreational boating safety. "Let's continue to make a difference and let's get these basic sound safety practices in place in every state. Our commitment to boating safety can lead to further reductions in recreational boating fatalities, injuries, and accidents."

The full text of Rosenker's speech is available on the board's Web site at www.ntsb.gov/speeches/rosenker/mvr090623.html, under speeches and testimony.

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