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Boating Act Marks 10 Years of Safer Waterways in Alabama
March 26, 2004
This year marks the 10th anniversary of a boating act that has made Alabama’s waterways much safer. The Boating Safety Reform Act, also known as the Roberson-Archer Act, was passed in 1994. It provided sweeping changes in equipment requirements, the establishment of boating under the influence (BUI) statues, and tougher laws for personal watercraft.
The most significant aspect of the reform package was the establishment of a mandatory operator licensing program in 1999. At the time this Act was passed, Alabama averaged approximately 35 boating fatalities per year. In the first year of its inception, boating fatalities were reduced almost 50 percent. The accident and fatality rates have continued to remain low.
Alabama has impacted boating safety nationwide. Other states have observed the Alabama law, and have adopted their own licensing programs.
(505,483 licensed operators to date)
Year # of Accidents # of Fatalities # of Injuries
1998 156 32 89
*1999 135 17 85
2000 130 14 63
2001 104 17 64
2002 112 12 55
2003 126 17 62
* First year of mandatory licensing
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