Overview of the National Recreational Boating Safety Survey (NRBSS)

A primary goal of the National Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) program is to ensure safe boating behaviors by boat operators and passengers. Achieving this goal is a challenge, given limited resources, the changing preferences and characteristics of boaters, and the continual introduction of new recreational boats. Meeting this challenge requires that recreational boating professionals collect and analyze recreational boating data and learn all we can about boating behaviors and the corresponding linkages to incident risks.

Acknowledging these complexities, the RBS Program and the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) identified improving and expanding recreational boating data collection as one of its 2017–21 Strategic Plan performance objectives. The purpose of the National Recreational Boating Safety Survey (NRBSS) is to produce scientific estimates of the number of characteristics of recreational boaters, the number of different types of recreational boats that are owned and operated, the size of the boating population, and the amount of exposure in an effort to assist agencies and organizations best meet nationwide boating safety practices and standards.
The NRBSS findings are presented in two reports: the Participation Survey Final Report and the Exposure Survey Final Report. This briefing will provide an overview of the highlights of these two reports.

Vann Burgess

USCG RBS Specialist

Vann Burgess retired from the United States Coast Guard in February of 2000 after serving more than 21 years on active duty. During his career, Burgess’s primary fields were Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue. His last tour of duty was as the coordinator and lead instructor for the Marine Patrol Officer’s Course and a regulatory subject matter expert for the Boarding Officer’s Course at the Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement School, Yorktown, Virginia.

 In July 2000, Burgess came to the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, Coast Guard Headquarters, where he now serves as the Coast Guard’s Senior Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Specialist. In his current position, Burgess oversees the programmatic operation of the State RBS Grant Program, provided under the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. This grant program provides funding to all U.S. states and territories for the purposes of vessel numbering, RBS law enforcement, RBS education, search and rescue and boating accident investigation and reporting. Burgess also serves as the programmatic lead for the Vessel Identification System (VIS), a national database for state numbered and Coast Guard documented vessels for the purposes of law enforcement and security.

 Vann Burgess is the Coast Guard’s Boating Safety liaison to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and serves on the Boat Accident and Training (BOAT) Program Advisory Board.