NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


May 25, 2006

As Memorial Day approaches and the summer season begins, National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker today urged the American public to remember safety first while enjoying the holiday.

"We all want what is best for our family members and taking that extra step to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when boating, not drinking while driving and buckling up, are simple but important precautionary measures to help ensure safety of our loved ones," said Rosenker.

The Safety Board is releasing two new Safety Alerts addressing safety on the water. "Overcrowded boats are not safe," Rosenker said. "This applies to recreational boats, charter fishing vessels and sightseeing boats." The Board has investigated two small passenger vessel sinkings in recent years - the Lady D and Ethan Allen - where passenger overloading is an issue.

Boaters are also being urged to wear a personal flotation device to help prevent the many fatal accidents that occur while on the water. An average of 714 boaters die each year; 508 of those are by drowning. Most of those who drown were in open motorboats and in boats less than 21 feet in length. According to U. S. Coast Guard statistics about 84 percent of those drowning victims would still be alive if they had worn PFDs. Boating accidents data shows that when mandatory PFD requirements are adopted, drowning fatalities go down.

"Whether enjoying fun on the water, or traveling on the highways, remember that during this summer season nothing is more important than the safety of your family and having them around next year," said Rosenker.

Over 17,000 people are killed a year in alcohol- related highway accidents. During a holiday weekend more people are on the road, which increases the potential for even more fatalities when you add alcohol to the equation. Drivers should be responsible if consuming alcohol and eliminate all distractions that may jeopardize the safety of others.

The best defense against drunk drivers is the seat belt and the Safety Board continues to stress the importance of using them. Everyone in the vehicle should wear seats belts or use age appropriate child restraints. Unrestrained vehicle occupants are ejected 29 percent of the time. When totally ejected, 74 percent are killed. When vehicle occupants use seat belts, only 1 percent of the belted population is ejected.

The Safety Board has issued safety alerts reminding people that safety should be first priority.

Boating Safety Alerts

  • Recreational Boating Safety (SA-007)    PDF (118 KB)
  • Passenger Vessel Safety (SA-009) PDF (58KB)
  • Small Passenger Charter Fishing Vessels (SA-010) PDF (54KB)

These and other Board safety alerts can be found on our website using the following link http://www.ntsb.gov/alerts/alerts.htm.

NTSB Media Contact:
Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.