BoatU.S. Recall Alert Registry Saves Money and Lives

For a period of 10 years after a boat is manufactured, federal law requires builders to recall and repair their vessels if they are found not to be in compliance with Coast Guard regulations or when they contain safety defects. But while the law requires that U.S. Coast Guard Defect Recall Notices be sent to original owners, there is no requirement to maintain up-to-date records of subsequent owners.

The recreational boat owners association, BoatU.S., has stepped in to fill this important gap with its National Recall Alert Registry, a free service for all boat owners that connects owners and manufacturers with U.S. Coast Guard recall actions. "The system often fails because second or third owners aren’t notified of recalls," says Caroline Ajootian, BoatU.S. consumer protection bureau director. "It also fails when new boat owners don’t return warranty cards. In both cases, manufacturers have no way to notify owners about structural, mechanical or safety-related defects and their efforts to correct them. Oftentimes boat owners--unaware of manufacturer’s recall actions--end up paying for a fix the manufacturer would have corrected in the first place," said Ajootian.

To register, simply visit and click on "Boating Safety" or call (703) 461-2856. To protect boat owners’ privacy, all information is secure. Since its launch three years ago, the Registry’s database has been utilized in several recall actions, saving boat owners thousands of dollars and potentially many lives.