While boat recalls are not commonplace, they do happen. Unfortunately, there's a good chance a manufacturer will have no way to contact you if your boat model is found to be in non-compliance with Coast Guard regulations or contains a safety defect. That's because while federal law requires boat builders to recall and make repairs for a period of ten years, manufacturers are only obligated to send recall notices to original owners.
However, most vessels change ownership at least once during their first ten years of life, leaving manufacturers no way to reach subsequent owners to let them know they have a fix available to remedy a safety problem. 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 existing system is deficient because there is no consistent way for manufacturers to reach second or third owners," says Caroline Ajootian, BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau director. "However, by being proactive and using our free Registry, boat owners will be kept in the loop," she notes.
The system allows boaters to register their less than ten-year old vessel so a manufacturer may contact them directly in the event of a recall action. Boats, engines and trailers of any age can be registered, as some companies also conduct voluntary recalls on older products. In addition, boaters can 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.