The American Boat and Yacht Council released new consolidated boat warning labels with updated and standardized graphics in an effort to increase boater safety with easily understood information.
The average new boat has numerous warning labels affixed to it. The same length and style of boat from a different builder may have more or fewer labels, in dissimilar locations on the vessel, and with unique appearances.
Research found that the high number of labels diluted the importance of individual warning messages and that owners often remove them for aesthetic reasons.
The ABYC project was based on a National Marine Manufacturers Association-commissioned study analyzing information from the Coast Guard's boating accident reporting data over five years. The ABYC evaluated existing labels based on the top accident types. The result was the creation of new warning labels for a given location on a specific boat type.
"ABYC continues to set the standard for safer boating," ABYC board chairman Dave Marlow said in a statement. "Through extensive industry research, it developed guidance for manufacturers to provide consumer warnings in a format that is easier to understand. This is a big step forward and one that will certainly benefit boaters."
Professional-grade printed sheets are now available from ABYC. Each sheet varies slightly in the warning topics that are present and what is required for the boat type, including helm, transom, occupant and cabin occupancy.