Member Advisory: March 3, 2011
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
MRAA Issues Position Paper
Opposing Mandatory Adult Wear of Life
In the past
few months, the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers have been ratcheting up
discussions, studies, and strategies to implement a mandatory adult wear
requirement of recreational boats on federal waters. The Corps of Engineers has taken the lead
with three studies of a mandatory requirement in Ohio, Mississippi and
California with the Coast Guard pressuring the National Boating Safety Advisory
Council to prepare a recommendation for a federal requirement on its waters.
requirements vary from boat size of 18 feet and under, under 26 feet, and all
boats while underway. The Corps is very
interested in gauging public sentiment and is working with the Congressional
offices in the area around the three lakes where the new policies are being
tested. So far, according to the Corps,
boaters have not contacted any Congressional office and have not expressed
opposition to the new rules. The Corps
staff is now writing its final report to leadership and it is expected it will
recommend a mandatory adult wear requirement on all boats while underway. The three lakes also have placed a life
jacket wear requirement on swimmers either when swimming outside designated
swimming areas or when over 100 feet from shore.
Board believes strongly that the adult life jacket wear issue is one of the
biggest threats to the economic viability of recreational boating and has
issued its new position paper to help marine retailers challenge this upcoming
threat locally or in Congress. The
position paper is available on the MRAA website or can be obtained by calling the
MRAA office at 941-964-2535,” said Phil Keeter, MRAA President.
fight this issue with all our strength and energy,” said Dave Foulkrod, MRAA
believes boater education and effective educational campaigns will be more
effective in reducing boating related fatalities than a mandatory wear law that
is unwanted by the boating public.
Recent boating surveys indicate the vast majority (usually in the 80%
plus range) of recreational boaters is strongly opposed to mandatory adult life
jacket wear. MRAA strongly supports
mandatory life jacket requirements for young people under the age of 13 and on
certain high risk boats, such as personal watercraft.