Boating Act Marks 10 Years of Safer Waterways in Alabama

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.

Boating Statistics

(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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