News Releases

ACE Recreational Marine Insurance Announces Top Ten Recreational Boating Safety Tips
May 23, 2008

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Recreational boating activity soars during warm weather months, and so do boating incidents and injuries. According to the U.S. Coast GuardBoating Statistics 2006,1 the most recent year available, there are almost 13 million registered recreational boats in the United States. Overall boating fatalities continue to increase, with 710 recreational boating fatalities reported in 2006. Close to 5,000 boating accidents were reported, and nearly 3,500 people required medical treatment beyond first aid. Property damage exceeded $38 million.

Though the statistics are sobering, the risk of boating injuries and accidents can be minimized. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the majority of reported incidents involved factors that were within the control of boat operators. In recognition of the annual National Safety Boating Week, ACE Recreational Marine Insurance has again released its top ten list detailing tips to help recreational boaters stay safe, thus reducing the number of preventable accidents that occur each year.

Theres no mystery to boating safety and its potential impact on saving lives. Understanding and obeying navigational rules and safety procedures has proven to help reduce injuries and property damage, said Maurice Booth, Assistant Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, ACE Recreational Marine Insurance.

ACE Recreational Marine Top Ten Recreational Boating Safety Tips

  1. Always wear a life jacket and insist that your crew and guests do the same. Approximately 70 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned in 2006.1 Ninety percent of those who drowned were not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket. Always have an adequate supply of personal flotation devices aboard. Make sure that children are wearing appropriate life jackets that fit correctly. Drowning was the reported cause of death for approximately 55 percent of the children who perished in 2006. Overall, fatal accident data indicates that approximately 423 lives could have been saved if boaters had worn their life jackets.
  2. Never drink alcohol while boating. In 2006, alcohol was either a direct or indirect contributing factor in 30 percent of all boating fatalities. Stay sharp on the water by leaving the alcohol on dry land.1
  3. Take a boating safety course. More than 70 percent of all reported boating fatalities in 2006 occurred on boats where the operator had not completed a boating safety course.1 You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadron2 or for information on courses in your area.
  4. Stay in control by taking charge of your safety and that of your passengers. Boaters between the ages of 20 and 29 accounted for the highest rate of the total boating fatalities in 2006.1 Dont forget that safety begins with you.
  5. Understand and obey boating safety recommendations and navigational rules. Imagine the mayhem that would result if car drivers disregarded highway traffic laws. Know and understand boating safety procedures and rules of navigation before taking to the water, and practice them without fail.
  6. Operate at a safe speed and always maintain a careful lookout. Overall, operator inattention, carelessness/reckless operation, operator inexperience and excess speed are significant contributing factors in virtually all reported accidents.1 Know you and your boats limitations. Take note of visibility, traffic density and the proximity of navigation hazards like shoals, rocks or floating objects. Dont invite a collision by going faster than is prudent.
  7. Check the weather forecast. A calm day can quickly turn ugly on the water. Stay on top of the forecast while boating and heed all weather and storm advisories. Check the condition of your life raft annually and before long distance off-shore cruising. Carry flares at all times.
  8. Have your vessel checked for safetyfor free! The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers Vessel Safety Checks at no cost. Coast Guard staffers will check your boats equipment and provide information about its use, safety procedures and applicable regulations. Unsafe boats are a threat to all recreational boaters. Make sure your vessel is as safe as possible. Visit the U.S. Coast Guard web site at for further information.
  9. Use a carbon monoxide detector. All internal combustion engines emit carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can kill in minutes. Carbon monoxide poisoning caused 12 boating deaths in 2006.1
  10. File a float plan. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you always tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when youll be back. Make it a habit before leaving on any boat trip. The proper officials can be notified promptly if you dont return when expected.

According to Mr. Booth, the more educated recreational boaters are about safety practices on the water, the better. Another important preparation is to have reliable and comprehensive insurance in place. Few people would drive a car without adequate insurance, yet countless recreational boaters take this risk, he noted.

Boat owners may be unaware that liability insurance can provide important coverage, including medical, that may extend to paid crew and passengers. They can protect themselves and their passengers by purchasing insurance that will cover medical care if their injuries are caused by an uninsured operator of another boat. Coverages that will pay for repairs if their boat is damaged in the water, on land, or during transport are also available. Boat owners can also insure against the loss of personal property and the costs of towing and emergency assistance.

ACE Recreational Marine Insurance, part of ACE USA, offers exceptional all-risk insurance coverage for vessels of all sizes  from the smallest to the largest  throughout the United States. Programs are available to protect the entire spectrum of pleasure yachts and boats, including luxury mega-yachts and sailboats, sport fishing boats, ski boats, personal watercraft, high performance vessels, and select charter vessels.

To learn more about ACE Recreational Marine Insurance and obtain valuable information on a wide range of safety and loss prevention topics, please visit

ACE USA is the U.S.-based retail operating division of the ACE Group of Companies, headed by ACE Limited(NYSE:ACE), and is rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company and A+ (Strong) by Standard & Poors. ACE USA, through its underwriting companies, provides insurance products and services throughout the U.S. Additional information on ACE USA and its products and services can be found at The ACE Group of Companies provides insurance and reinsurance for a diverse group of clients around the world.


2 United States Power Squadron.



ACE North America Communications
Carla Ferrara, 215-640-4744