With the boating season just around the corner and used boats now accounting for over 70% of annual boat sales, boat owners should know about a free BoatU.S. service which provides invaluable information on U.S. Coast Guard boat recalls.
For a period of ten years after a boat is built, federal law requires boat builders to recall and repair any vessel found to be in non-compliance with Coast Guard regulations or which contains a safety defect. But, the law only requires that these defect recall notices be sent to original owners. With most vessels changing ownership at least once during their first ten years of life, manufacturers often have difficulty reaching subsequent owners to let them know they have a fix available to remedy a safety problem.
"The existing system is deficient because a considerable number of new boat purchasers don't return warranty cards and there is no consistent way for manufacturers to reach them," says Caroline Ajootian, BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau director. "And even if a new boat owner does return a warranty card, when the boat is sold a second or third time the manufacturer still has no way to communicate to those used-boat buyers," she notes.
BoatU.S. has stepped in to fill this important gap between boat builders and owners with its online National Recall Alert Registry located at http://www.BoatUS.com/recall The system allows boaters to register their less than ten-year old vessel so a manufacturer can contact them directly in the event of a recall action. Consumers can also view a list of current recalls as well as visit the U.S. Coast Guard's Recall Database.
The online system is also a plus for manufacturers. "It can help a difficult situation get better because it demonstrates that the manufacturer is being proactive and helps reinforce the positive image of a company and its product," says Ajootian. The system is also secure - each manufacturer can only view the database of owners having their product.
BoatU.S. - Boat Owners Association of The United States - is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 640,000 members with a wide array of consumer services.