This morning's Wall Street Journal contained a lengthy article about the
Coast Guard's concern over rising deaths and injuries from boating
accidents. The Coast Guard is considering toughening safety standards for
recreational water sports. The Coast Guard is expected to unveil its
initiatives over the next several months.
The article states that consumer spending on boats and marine equipment was
$19 billion last year, up 70% since 1993. Americans own 16.8 million
recreational boats and 74.8 million people participate in recreational
boating. Accidents have risen by a third over the last five years.
Initiatives mentioned include:
1. A crackdown on *** use on boats.
2. Changes in PWC design that will provide for better steering and stopping
control and padded handlebars.
3. New life jacket designs that are effective but comfortable.
4. Considering requiring all operators and passengers in boats as much as
20 feet long to wear life jackets.
The article also mentioned that the last time the Coast Guard suggested
mandatory life jacket wearing, there were a flood of complaints. A general
resistance to governmental regulation of boating was acknowledged.