November 2007

Recreational Boating Industry Supports USCG Withdrawal

Of Mandatory Houseboat Propeller-Guard Proposal

CHICAGO — After years of careful consideration, the U.S. Coast Guard announced in October in the Federal Register that propeller guards will not be required on all recreational houseboats after determining its resources would be more effectively used to increase boating safety through measures such as boater education that would have a greater impact on propeller-injury avoidance.

“The Coast Guard originally proposed this rule as a first step that would eventually consider requirements for propeller guards or avoidance measures on all propeller driven boats,” said John McKnight, director of Environmental and Safety Compliance for NMMA.

“NMMA supports the Coast Guard’s decision and will continue to work with the agency to evaluate technology that addresses safety issues on recreational boats.

“NMMA, working closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA), found that safety education and labeling provided a more effective way to reduce propeller-related accidents than requiring a propeller guard or opting to impose U.S. Coast Guard-proposed avoidance measures,” he continued.

In the Federal Register, the Coast Guard noted characteristics of the safety measures proposed, and the original cost estimate of $300 per installation on each identified houseboat was not realistic. In fact, extensive studies revealed the average cost per boat would be approximately $1,500, with an estimated total price tag of $150 million to implement the proposal.

What’s more, the $150 million USCG estimate did not factor in the additional costs related to maintenance or the resulting decrease in fuel efficiency on prop guard-installed vessels.

“Both the recreational boating industry and the Coast Guard care deeply about the safety of the boating public,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “NMMA has worked to educate boaters on proper and safe operation of motorboats, and we continue to work alongside our industry partners to provide the best possible solutions to boat safety and efficiency so American families can continue enjoying their time on the water.”

For additional information, contact John McKnight at (202) 737-9757;