NASBLA Roundtable

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Release of the National Recreational Boating Safety Survey (NRBSS)

  • 1.  Release of the National Recreational Boating Safety Survey (NRBSS)

    Reporting Project
    Posted 12-07-2020 01:00 PM

    Attached are the Participation and Exposure Survey reports for the 2018 National Recreational Boating Safety Survey (NRBSS), which were released publicly today, and which are posted on under "Statistics" and "Survey" on the menu at the top of the page. These reports were funded by a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by CG-BSX.  The NRBSS took over 3 years and $4.5 million to execute.  This reflects the significant effort to mail a quarter-million surveys, analyze 50K responses, and validate results; we plan to do this every four to five years, and we expect to get quicker with results now that methodologies are better established.  


    The 73-page Participation Survey report provides the numbers and demographic profiles of persons who went out on the water in recreational boats in 2018. The 131-page Exposure Survey report focuses on boat ownership and use, estimates of exposure (e.g., person hours of boating), and risk ratios. The reports were produced as a result of a cooperative agreement, which means the CG-BSX-2 provided assistance in  development. The product is the responsibility of the authors, but the Office of Civil Rights and senior leadership in CG-BSX and reviewed both documents.


    There are two other components of the NRBSS: (1) the Data Access and Query System (DAQS), which provides on-line public access to the 2018 NRBSS results, and (2) the Methodology report that explains instrument development; sample design and data collection; methods of weighting, estimation, and analysis; and DAQS development.


    Some key results:

       - 84.5 million Americans boated, over 25% of the population.

       - 13.4 million unregistered boats (compared to 11.9M registered); 55% are kayaks.

       - 68% of boaters have household incomes less than $75K.

       - 14.5 million households own boats (11.9%).

       - 3.42 billion hours of boat operation (over 130 hours per boat).

       - 257,249 survey mailed, and 50,273 persons responded.



    Vann Burgess
    Senior RBS Specialist
    US Coast Guard