united states coast guard

R 171851Z MAY 21
ALCOAST 187/21
SSIC 16210
A. Recreational Boating Statistics, COMDTPUB P16754.33
B. Elijah Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020,
section 8316
1. National Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day is Friday, 21 May,
and National Safe Boating Week (NSBW) is Saturday, 22 May, through
Friday, 28 May. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the
Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971. The message then was the same as
it is now: "please boat safely." The five most important things
you can do:
    a. Wear a life jacket,
    b. Educate yourself through knowledge and skills based training,
    c. Wear your engine cut off switch link,
    d. Abstain from using alcohol while underway, and
    e. Get a free vessel safety check from the USCG Auxiliary
2. CG-BSX works extensively with the States and the recreational
boating safety community on efforts to encourage model boating
behavior. Through a $126 million grant program, campaigns and
enforcement target the desired outcomes in paragraph 1, and reach
out to the American boating public in a variety of platforms. 
Please visit to become more familiar with these
3. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in boating
activity in 2020. Boat sales reached recent record highs, with
first-time boat buyers making up a larger percentage than at
any time in the past ten years. The combination of record boat
activity and sales, first-time boat owners, and difficulty
receiving in-person education combined to also increase the
number of accidents, injuries, and deaths. CY2020 deaths
exceeded 2019 by 24%, and the deaths in June, July, and August
in 2020 were the highest in 23 years. Also, SAR cases increased
by 10% even despite less commercial traffic, indicating that
recreational boating cases were the most likely cause. Although
boating continues to be a relatively safe activity, you can
help make it safer.
4. Per REF (A), 79 percent of boating fatalities were drownings,
and 86 percent of those were victims that were not wearing life
jackets. Please encourage and incentivize life jacket wear. Just
like seatbelt wear, you never know when you will need it, but when
you do, it's critical. Most states require life jacket wear by
children. For adults, an inflatable life jacket is not cumbersome
and easy to don. REF (A), the 2019 Recreational Boating Statistics,
may be found at:
5. Virtual education classes hosted by the CG Auxiliary, found at:, and the U.S. Power Squadrons at:
The results have been very positive, as more students are now
attending classes than when they were held in person.
6. This year, wearing an engine cut-off switch (ECOS) link became
a requirement (REF (B) modified 43 U.S.C. §4312) while operating
certain recreational vessels. If the vessel has an ECOS link, the
operator most likely must wear it. (REF (C) and its supporting web
site, found at:
engine-cut-off-devices.php provides specific circumstances when
wear is required and our enforcement posture during the initial
roll out of this requirement). Each year, nearly 75 people die and
400 more are injured when they are struck by a propeller or a
vessel. This requirement will help to reduce these tragedies.
7. Alcohol consumption remains the single-greatest contributing
factor in recreational boating fatalities. Last year, 23 percent
of deaths involved alcohol. Please encourage sober boating on
our Nation's waters. If you are an operational unit, please
participate in Operation Dry Water (ODW) during the 4th of July
Holiday weekend. An ALCOAST will be released within 30 days of
ODW providing details.
8. Please ensure that boaters know what safety requirements their
boat must meet and recommend them to get a vessel safety check
9. During National Safe Boating Week, all Coast Guard units and
commands are encouraged to participate in activities and special
events that highlight safe boating. Units are encouraged to
collaborate with their District Recreational Boating Safety
Specialists while planning National Safe Boating Week public
outreach strategies and events such as Sector and Station open
houses and Auxiliary involvement.
10. POC: Tom Dardis, COMDT (CG-BSX-2) at: (202) 372-1063 or
11. RDML R. V. Timme, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy
(CG-5P), sends.
12. Internet release is authorized.