NASBLA & Paddle Sports Boating Safety

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators recognizes the need to address the increase in recent years in the numbers of paddle craft and paddlers, and the potential for accidents and fatalities.

Over four million canoes and kayaks have been purchased since 1998. Many of the new paddlers involved lack the skills and knowledge to safely pursue the sport. Capsizing and hypothermia in colder waters are serious concerns.

80 % of paddle craft drowning results from capsizing and/or immersion in cold water.

In 2006 NASBLA's Paddle sports Committee had nine charges primarily concerned with forming liaisons and cooperative efforts with other organizations concerned with paddle craft boating safety. In October of 2006 the writer joined NASBLA’s Paddle sports Sub Committee which was responsible for the charge of producing a Paddle sports Accident Training Module.

The module produced will serve as a training aid for inspectors of paddle sport accidents. Among the twelve sections, terminology, types of boats and equipment, class of water and hazards, weather and environment, accident statistics, hypothermia, and human error are covered. It is currently in draft form and up for review. Investigations and analysis of the resulting data will identify opportunities to prevent boating casualties

For 2008 the Paddle sports Committee has taken on a new name and charges.

It is now the Engineering, Reporting and Analysis Committee. The charges are:

1. Analyze high-risk vessel type accident and fatality rates in states. Assess the possible correlations between those rates and safety campaigns. Identify and recommend best practices that states can implement to minimize risk to participants.

2. Analyze boating accident data to identify factors specific to injuries and fatalities among high-risk boater populations, with a special focus on children and youth ages17 and under. Consider frequency and severity of injuries, accident scenarios, roles of participants, exposure hours and other variables. Develop an issue brief on findings.

Alex Cascione BC-VES

Vessel Examinations

Peter Urgola, Department Chief - Vessel Examinations
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Richard Myrick, Division Chief - Vessel Examinations
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Alexander Cascione, Branch Chief - Sports & Utility Boats Program
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Pages prepared by: Robert Daraio, DVC-VE 2006

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