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BoatU.S. consumer database hits milestone

The online BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Database, created more than 20 years ago to track consumer complaints and safety information, marked its 10,000th entry last week.

The database contains specific reports about boats, engines, boating products, dealers, marinas and related boating services, as well as information about how, or whether, the companies involved responded to each complaint. Also included are manufacturer's defect recall notices and safety alerts published by the Coast Guard and a selection of service bulletins issued by boatbuilders.

To increase accuracy, BoatU.S. makes every effort to collect boat make-and-model information and hull and engine identification numbers. Having this data is vital because analysis often shows that problems are confined to specific models or a series of hull numbers, according to BoatU.S.

Boaters searching the database will likely find reports about larger companies simply because large companies have more products on the water, according to Caroline Ajootian, director of the BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau.

"Keep in mind that the presence - or absence - of reports is as much a reflection on market share, rather than the quality of a boat or lack of it," she said in a statement.

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