Why is it a good idea to record my boat information with the BoatU.S. National Recall Alert Registry?




The BoatU.S. National Recall Alert Registry is a universal registration site designed to put manufacturers in touch with owners when safety defect recalls are announced. Boat and marine engine defect recalls often involve serious safety problems that must be corrected so that boats can be operated safely. Federal law requires boat and marine engine manufacturers to use "reasonable diligence" in maintaining lists of first purchasers, so owner records are often incomplete, especially for used boats. Consumers may never be notified when safety defects are discovered.


Why is it so important to include my boat's Hull Identification Number when I register?



Your boat's HIN indicates the model and when it was built. Manufacturers need this information to identify which boats that may be defective. If your record does not contain your boat's HIN, it is likely you will not be notified if a recall occurs. If you don't know your boat's HIN when you first register, you can add this information later!


What can I expect if I register?



Hopefully, your boat will never be recalled and you will therefore receive no recall notices from the manufacturer. However, if your boat is recalled, the manufacturer will download your information and you will receive a defect recall notice via certified mail.


Who can look at the information I enter into the Registry?



Your ownership information is private and may be accessed only by you, the manufacturer of your boat or engine, and BoatU.S. Follow the instructions on the registration page for setting up a personal password. Manufacturers will be assigned passwords that will allow them to access records involving only the boats they build.


I'm moving. Should I change my address in the Registry?


Yes! Update your record whenever you move or buy or sell a boat. That way, your boat builder can contact you if a recall is initiated.


I just bought a new boat and sent my warranty card to the manufacturer. Should I still register online?


Yes. That way you will be doubly sure you will receive defect recall notices.


I've sold my boat. What should I do?


Encourage the new buyer to register so that recall information can be passed along.


When must manufacturers recall boats?




The Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 requires marine manufacturers to recall defective boats and marine engines when they do not meet federal manufacturing standards (known as non-compliance defect) or when they contain defects which "create a substantial risk of personal injury." Safety defects are generally viewed as traumatic conditions, which occur largely without warning and which cause substantial injury or property damage. Companies are required to recall boats or engines only when defects are discovered within five years of construction. They may conduct voluntary recalls of older boats but are not required to do so, regardless of the cause of the defect.


What will happen if my boat is recalled?




The manufacturer will send you a defect recall notice sent via certified mail. The notice will contain a description of the defect, the risk involved and how the manufacturer will correct the condition. Depending on the nature of the defect, you may be warned not to use your boat until it has been inspected and repaired. Some defect recall repairs are relatively simple and you may be given the option of making the repair yourself. Others may be performed by your dealer or at the factory. By law, recall repairs must be made at the manufacturer's sole cost and expense.


Where can I find out information about boat and marine engine recalls?



The U.S. Coast Guard oversees how recreational boats are built and has the authority to require manufacturers to recall boats. The Coast Guard's recall database may be accessed at their web site, www.uscgboating.org. Click on the "boat owners & manufacturers" icon. BoatU.S. posts new recalls at www.boatus.com/recall "New Recalls" as the Coast Guard publishes them monthly.


What can I do if I think my boat has a defect?




Report your concerns to the manufacturer. If you are not satisfied with the manufacturer's response, have your boat inspected by a marine surveyor to determine the extent of the damage and its possible cause. The surveyor can advise you on whether the condition represents a non-compliance or safety issue. Suspected defects can be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard at 800-368-5647 or online at www.uscgboating.org. The BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau maintains a database of consumer complaints about boats and engines. Call 703-461-2856 to see if we have reports similar to yours on file. This could indicate an overall pattern of problems.


Will the U.S. Coast Guard help me if I have a consumer complaint that doesn't involve a recall?



No. The Coast Guard can investigate only issues involving non-compliance with federal construction standards or with "substantial risk" defects involving safety. The BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau mediates consumer disputes on behalf of BoatU.S. members and we are also partners with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Marine Retailers Association of America in the BetterBOAT dispute resolution program. Call the Bureau, 703-461-2856, for information about how these programs work.


Where can I find out information about boat manufacturing requirements?



The U.S. Coast Guard develops and administers federal construction requirements for hull identification numbers, horsepower and weight capacities, flotation, fuel and electrical systems and ventilation. A complete list of those standards may be found at the Coast Guard's web site, www.uscgboating.org. Click on the "boat owners & manufacturers" icon.