2005 California Boating Safety Report


Executive Summary

The California Division of Boating and Waterways administers many programs to provide for boating safety on the State’s waterways. The 2005 California Boating Safety Report summarizes activities performed in three key safety program areas:

This report also highlights the Department’s current program enhancements and future safety initiatives designed to reduce accidents and make California’s waterways safer.

Through the boating accident program, the Department provides useful accident information to boaters, law enforcement agencies, and educators. This information is communicated to the general public through the incorporation of relevant safety measures based on accident analysis into the Department’s safety education programs and law enforcement training programs. Exhibit E-1, below, provides a summary of key boating accident statistics for 2005.

The Department provides supplemental funding to counties for law enforcement activities and promotes uniform enforcement of boating laws through its law enforcement training program. In 2005, the financial aid program allocated $8.1 million to 36 counties and 2 cities for enforcement personnel and operating costs. In turn, the counties provided crucial boating law enforcement, as well as safety training for law enforcement officers and the public. Exhibit E-2, following Exhibit E-1, provides a summary of law enforcement activities supported by the Department’s financial aid program.

In 2005, the law enforcement training program included seven courses on various boating safety topics, in which Department staff trained 381 marine enforcement officers.

The Department’s safety education programs provided nearly two million individuals with boating safety training and materials.

On-going partnerships with educational institutions, aquatic centers, and non-profit organizations provided crucial safety information to students and the general public. Additionally, the Department sponsored a statewide radio and outdoor media campaign to promote life jacket use, environmental stewardship, and boating safety course participation. Exhibit E-3, following Exhibit E-2, provides a summary of the Department’s safety education outreach programs.

New programs developed in 2005 focus on improving public outreach and expanding law enforcement training. Enhancements to existing programs reflect changing accident statistics and key safety concerns. Exhibit E-4, following Exhibit E-3, presents a summary of 2005 program enhancements and initiatives.

Exhibit E-1
2005 California Boating Accident Summary Statistics

Overall Boating Accident Highlights

PWC Accident Statistics

Accidents involving PWC have decreased 48% since January 1998. Trends contributing to this result:

Since changes in law noted above, and the resulting continued decrease of PWC-related accidents, the number of PWC accidents per hours under way has been approaching the rate for traditional vessels. In 2004, PWC were involved in fewer accidents than traditional vessels. The 2004 data revealed that:

Youth Accident Statistics (Youth is under 18 years of age)

Fatal Accident Statistics

Exhibit E-2
Services Supported by the 2004-2005 Financial Aid Program

Regulation Enforcement
     Verbal Warnings
     Physical Arrests
Boater Assistance
     Persons Assisted
     Vessels Assisted
     Accident Investigations
Search and Rescue Operations
     Body Recovery Attempts
     Boating Safety Presentations
Organized Boating Event Supervision

Exhibit E-3
2005 California Boating Safety Education Programs

Continuing Educational Programs

Educational Outreach to School Age Children
     AquaSMART Elementary Education Program
500,000 participating students
     AquaSMART Live! Elementary Program
45,000 participating students
     AquaSMART Boating High School Education Program
1,316 participating students
     Poster Contest (13th Annual)
2,300 entries
General Educational Outreach
     Home Study Course
35,000 courses distributed
Aquatic Center Grants
     Grants were given to universities and non-profit organizations for scholarships for the purchase of boats, equipment, and related safety supplies
80,000 individuals trained

Boat Shows

Tri-State Boating Safety Fair


Spanish Language Outreach

Multimedia Boating Safety Awareness Campaign

DBW Safety Team

Get Hooked on H2O

Life Jacket Loan Program

T-Shirt Program

National Safe Boating Week Events

During National Safe Boating Week, the week before Memorial Day weekend, the Department sponsored the following events:

Other Programs

Safe Kids Coalition
California Clean Green Boating Network
Abandoned Watercraft Removal Program

Exhibit E-4
2005 California Boating Safety Program Enhancements

Program Enhancements for 2005

The Department created and produced two new 30-second radio messages, Angler Jack and No Brakes, addressing the importance of life jacket usage and safe speed respectively.

Media Outreach

Television Outreach to Anglers

The 2004 boating accident statistics revealed that one-third of boating fatalities in California were fishing-related. Of these victims, all drowned and the majority were not wearing a life jacket.

Because of these findings, the Department decided to create a radio and television safety campaign specific to anglers. The key message encouraged anglers to not only wear life jackets when underway to fish, but also to continue to wear them while fishing.

In 2005, the Angler Jack and his Life Jacket television spot aired on the Outdoor Life Network and ESPN 2 over a nine-week period between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. during fishing-related programming. Additionally, a complementary Angler Jack radio message was created and aired during fishing programs throughout the summer in four of California’s major boating markets. The spot ran for 14 weeks in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, and 26 weeks in Sacramento.

Television Boating Safety Promotion

Premiering Labor Day 2005, the Department’s Boating Safety Awareness campaign forged a partnership between a local television news program, a local aquatic center, and the Department to heighten awareness of boating safety in the San Diego. Safety announcements aired during the morning local newscast throughout the week leading up to the holiday weekend, prime placement on the station’s website for prize giveaways, and culminated with “live” cut-in reporting during the Friday morning newscast featuring the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and an on-site life jacket giveaway.

Radio Messages

With the evolution of iPods and satellite radio, among other new technology, traditional radio stations shortened their commercial breaks to stay competitive. Therefore, two of the 2004 spots, Bev Lite and CO Kills, were converted into 30-second spots in 2005.

In addition, two new 30-second spots, Angler Jack and No Brakes, were created. These new spots were created to increase life jacket use for anglers and safe speed, respectively. These spots combined a humorous approach with a safe boating message.

Spanish Language

In 2005, a Sacramento Univision television station gave the Department the opportunity to relay boating safety information to the Spanish-speaking community. Pre-recorded and live feed interviews took place during the summer months.

Other Outreach to the Public

Life Jacket Loan Program

In 2005, additional fire districts in Placer and San Joaquin Counties joined the Department’s Life Jacket Loan Program. A current list of loan locations can be found on the DBW website:


Brochure—Boating Safety Classes

The Department completed work on a brochure that promotes hands-on boating safety courses and contains information on classes offered by aquatic centers that have partnered with the Department. This brochure was distributed in 2005.