Michigan Boating Industries Association Shocked by Misguided USCG Ad Campaign

Don't Wreck Your Summer

Don't Wreck Your Summer - USCG PSA

On May 11, 2011, the Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) released a press release titled, Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) Shocked by USCG Misguided and Damaging Advertising Campaign. The press release reports they will soon be contacting member of Congress to share their “outrage.” USCG is misguided, the boating has a strong safety record that continues to improve. They provide some data from the State of Michigan to support their position and compare their record to that of snowmobiles and motorcycles.

MBIA quotes the National Marine Manufacturing Association (NMMA) statement on the ads, “in these uncertain economic times it is incomprehensible that the USCG is using taxpayer dollars to push a new ad campaign whose only message is that boating is a dangerous activity.” MBIA says they will tell Congress to require USCG to design ad campaigns focused on “the importance of safety and responsible behavior …”.

Our Comments on MBIA’s Outrage

MBIA’s comments were repeated in the boating industry media (Soundings Trade Only, Boating Industry, Cruising Compass, and more). Cruising Compass notes MBIA does not directly identify the specific ad they are outraged about. We do the same. We suspect they are just late in responding to the Propeller Safety Public Service Announcement (PSA) video the industry has already banned. It was titled, ‘Don’t Wreck Your Summer” and is available above.

The data MBIA uses to support the boating industry safety record continues to improve compares the number of registered boats per boating fatality in Michigan in 1967 to the number of registered boats per boating fatality in Michigan in 2009. While we agree that boating safety has vastly improved since 1967, we suspect their calculations are flawed. Back in 1967 few boats were registered, while today most boats are registered. For example, they show about 385,000 boats registered in 1967 vs. about 922,000 boats registered in 2009. Boating has become more popular over the years, but we suspect the numerators in their calculations did a little over achieving to help prove their point.

In the recent Brochtrup vs. Mercury Marine & Sea Ray propeller case appeal, the industry claimed the public is aware of the dangers of propellers and now they are trying to hide those dangers from the public by blocking USCG’s PSAs. By the way, the industry lost their appeal. When they are called to task in the courtroom next time after banning the propeller safety PSA and then declaring their outrage against it, it will be interesting to see what they have to say.


  1. It is a little ionirc that the next topic in the newsletter is EPIRB Helps Rescue Four Boaters Off Georgia Coast and goes on to tell how the USCG rescued four boaters 14 miles off the coast of Cumberland Island, GA on Saturday, after a 25-foot sport boat they were aboard capsized Rather than a toe tag maybe a dunce cap?

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