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2016 North American Safe Boating Campaign Awareness Survey

We’re excited to share the results for our annual North American Safe Boating Campaign Awareness Survey, conducted by Paul Werth Associates. The survey goals were to determine the campaign’s effectiveness, specifically the impact on life jacket wear, attitudes and safety behavior of boaters.

Thanks to the support of trained volunteers in 14 states, we collected surveys from different bodies of water between late April and early October. Based on the locations’ level of campaign activity, the bodies of water were classified as no, medium or high activity. Surveys were self-administered and voluntary follow-up interviews were conducted to gain additional insights.

The 2016 survey found that the North American Safe Boating Campaign continues to have a positive impact on boaters’ behavior and attitudes regarding safety.

  • Those aware of the campaign are significantly more likely to wear life jackets “always or most of the time” compared to those unaware of the campaign.
  • Participants from medium and high campaign activity locations are more likely to wear their life jackets “always or most of the time” versus those from no campaign activity locations.
  • Boaters who are aware of the campaign are significantly more likely to wear a life jacket because they “feel safest when wearing a life jacket/it’s a safe practice” and “have heard of situations where a life jacket has saved a life.”
  • Boaters at high campaign activity locations are also significantly more likely than boaters at all other locations to “worry about other boaters and their unsafe practices.”
  • Boaters at high and medium campaign activity locations are more likely to believe that “drowning fatalities related to boating accidents would be dramatically reduced if more people wore life jackets” versus boaters from no campaign activity locations.

When completing the survey this year, participants were asked to read a description of the Wear It! Pledge (within survey) and asked how likely they would be to sign it. Participants from high campaign locations were significantly more likely to sign the pledge than those from medium or no campaign activity locations (76 percent versus 61 percent).

The survey found that the barriers to life jacket wear are similar to prior years: uncomfortable life jackets, no laws requiring wear, and forgetting or not thinking about wearing one.

Boaters who “rarely or never” wear a life jacket share they would be motivated to wear a life jacket if there was a law that required them to do so and if life jackets were more comfortable and less bulky.

Read the full report at http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com/resources/research/.