ABYC releases study on standards and safety

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), a nonprofit association that sets voluntary global safety standards for the design, construction, maintenance, and repair of recreational boats, in collaboration with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), released a significant analysis by independent research firms Industrial Economics, Inc. (IEc) and ITA International. This analysis focuses on the effectiveness of ABYC standards in enhancing recreational boating safety and was presented during the USCG/ABYC Risk Mitigation webinar “Don’t Be a Statistic. Data Saves Lives” on May 1.

During the webinar, Megan Sheahan, a senior associate at Industrial Economics, reported that boats certified to ABYC standards are 43% to 47% less likely to be involved in certain types of accidents. Additionally, adherence to these standards reduces the likelihood of fatalities by 26% to 58% in accidents that do occur, demonstrating that ABYC standards not only decrease accident occurrences but also lessen their severity.

“This important research confirms what many have believed anecdotally, which is recreational boats that are built to voluntary standards are less likely to be in certain accidents than those built to the Coast Guard’s minimum standards,” said Jeff Ludwig, chief of the Recreational Boating Product Assurance Branch at the USCG. “In many cases voluntary standards exceed the Coast Guard’s requirements, and this extra effort by some manufacturers should be noted by consumers.”

“Earlier assessments revealed that boats in compliance with ABYC standards are seven times less likely to be recalled by the USCG for safety issues and we’ve always known the critical importance of ABYC standards in ensuring safe, reliable and enjoyable boating,” said ABYC President John Adey. “We are proud to share this independent, data-driven research that supports our efforts.”

The analysis was supported by two critical data sources: the Boating Accident Report Database (BARD), a verified historical record of recreational boating accidents maintained by the USCG, and a list of boats built to ABYC’s voluntary standards. These boats are identified through the NMMA certification program, which ensures compliance with ABYC standards through inspections.

For the full IEc memorandum, visit www.abycinc.org/IECanalysis.

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