Recreational Safety Strategy


On average, there are around 100 maritime related deaths and almost 4000 maritime related injuries each year, with the recreational sector consistently accounting for over 60% of those. We want to limit or reduce the rate of deaths, injuries and accidents in the Recreational Sector by 2020 when compared to 2010.

Our Approach

Supporting government initiatives to open up access to the UK coast and to reduce deaths from accidents and serious injury, the MCA will take every opportunity to encourage people to have fun and enjoy leisure activities at sea and at the coast, but also to plan ahead, make more informed choices and take personal responsibility for their safety.

Our analysis shows that in 2007, at least 245 people got into difficultly at the coast and at sea because they were not adequately experienced in their environment, 234 incidents were caused because people were unaware of weather conditions, and 29 people died because they failed to wear a lifejacket. So our top messages for anyone going afloat are:

  • Get trained
  • Check the weather and tides
  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Avoid Alcohol
  • Keep in touch

The MCA will focus on these five key messages in partnership with appropriate bodies, such as the RNLI and RYA and wherever possible with the support of the NWSF.


We will target our strategy at the general public and specific interest groups primarily through education, and using regulation if appropriate in the case of alcohol.

Key implementation components include;

  • Promoting the use of proper safety equipment, including working closely with the RNLI and the RYA on the Lifejacket Awareness Campaign within the recreational sector.
  • New legislation on alcohol limits for recreational boaters to be introduced in 2009 and supported by a media and education campaign.
  • Production of new Recreational Safety guidance
  • Implementation of the WAID database: on water related incidents, shared and maintained by all recreational stakeholders.
  • Introduction of National Liaison Officers (NLOs) where appropriate: MCA first points of contact for each maritime recreational activity.