Accident Reporting Terms Definitions Project
Standardized terms and definitions in five accident report categories
A consensus-based project of NASBLA's Engineering, Reporting & Analysis Committee (ERAC), in partnership with the States and the U.S. Coast Guard
Standardized Lists Available for Use
Five accident report terms and definitions products, along with a resolution in support of project activities, were voted on and approved by NASBLA membership in 2012 and 2013:
Resolution 2012 - 3 (Sept. 11, 2012): In support of the Accident Reporting Terms & Definitions Project, the adoption of standardized terms and definitions by the U.S. Coast Guard, and actions to facilitate their application
For background, see ABOUT THE PROJECT
Using the Lists--Guidance and Resources for the States
A product team of NASBLA's Engineering, Reporting & Analysis Committee (ERAC) has been at work assembling resources, along with a delivery system for states to use in rolling out the updated terms and definitions to accident investigators, officers, and other personnel who use this information.
One product is guidance for states to consider when they wish to transition to the revised lists. Another is a "beta version" package of five resource and reference modules to help users navigate and apply the terms and definitions.
Read the instructions for downloading and using the beta version, then click on the image to the left to download a zip file of the Accident Reporting Terms & Definitions Reference and Resource Modules Beta Version 2013.1 (18MB), last updated Sept. 14, 2013.
As the product team continues to check and finalize the modules' content, members are seeking your feedback to improve the beta version and your help in identifying and acquiring additional photos and videos.
For more information on how to submit feedback or additional images for possible inclusion in the stable version of the modules package, refer to Readme document and "Wanted" list.


The Accident Reporting Terms & Definitions Project---functioning since mid-2011 with a team comprised of a subgroup of ERAC state and associate members and additional Coast Guard subject matter experts---has been one activity among several underway or planned to improve casualty reporting.

Its focus over the past two years had been on refining accident report terms and definitions in five categories. While its more immediate goal was crafting the “tools” to improve the consistency and interpretation of the accident report data that’s gathered, reviewed, and submitted by the states and territories to the Coast Guard for use in BARD and the annual boating accident statistics, the longer-term project goal---in tandem with other improvement efforts---is adding quality and depth to analyses of recreational boating accidents and to the design of initiatives and interventions at the state- and national-levels in response to those findings.

Who’s been involved?  For the bulk of the project, a subgroup of ERAC state and associate members and additional Coast Guard subject matter experts. But the review process extended  beyond the project team. It required the involvement of the full ERAC committee, the NASBLA Executive Board, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NASBLA's member states and territories.

The process in a nutshell - for each category of terms

  • Achieve project team consensus on terms and definitions through a series of teleconferences and interim work;
  • Share the team consensus list with and get feedback from members of the full ERAC committee, members of the NASBLA Executive Board, and the U.S. Coast Guard (for initial, Office-level review);
  • Share the resulting, refined list with and get feedback from the states and territories using a structured, open comment period;
  • Review responses to assess the need for additional team refinements to the entries;
  • Submit final consensus list to NASBLA Executive Board for delivery to and vote by NASBLA membership;
  • Transmit the approved list to the U.S. Coast Guard for final review and clearance through its appropriate internal channels.

Project status (see top of page for the approved products)

The first two work products of this project (Accident Types and Contributing Factors) and the resolution associated with the project were voted on and approved by the NASBLA membership during its Business Meeting conducted Sept. 11, 2012, as part of the 53rd Annual NASBLA Conference, Mobile, Alabama. The final three work products of this project (Operation, Activity, and Vessel Types/Sub-Types) were considered and voted on by the NASBLA membership using a 30-day online voting process authorized under NASBLA's Bylaws. The products were approved by membership on Sept. 3, 2013.

Throughout the project, the Accident Reporting Terms and Definitions Project - Forum was one mechanism used to facilitate open commenting on the lists as they became available for review. All feedback submitted during the comment periods was posted to the Forum, along with the project team's disposition of comments.

The activities and documents that were associated with the 2013 review and approval of the final three lists in the project series will remain on this page through the end of calendar year 2013.


The work products for Operation, Activity, and Vessel Types/Vessel Sub-Types (July 2013 versions) were released to the BLAs on Aug. 2, 2013, for review and an online vote of acceptance. Forty-four of the NASBLA member states cast ballots by the Sept. 3, 2013 deadline. All three products were accepted and the approved versions are presented above.

In advance of the vote, on Mon., July 15, 2013,  the project team conducted a national teleconference with BLAs and other stakeholders to present key features of the June 2013 versions of the Operation, Activity, and Vessel Types/Vessel Sub-Types proposals and their application, take comments and questions about the revisions, and talk about next steps in the review and acceptance of them as committee work products. The slides and audio are available for download (see links below).

The lists that were presented in the teleconference---and which formed the basis for a second comment period (July 11-29)---had been prepared by the project team in response to feedback submitted during an initial open comment period with the states (Feb. 22 - March 24, 2013), and in response to other issues that surfaced in the team's review. Each June 2013 document below contains a summary, revised list, and section with the disposition of comments that had been received about specific entries during the Feb-March comment period.

Accident Reporting Terms Definitions Project Update July 15 2013 (20 PPT slides - with notes - 2MB)

Audio file July 15 2013 (49 min. - listen to or download from site)

At the end of July, the project team addressed all feedback received during the second and final comment period (July 11-29, 2013), revised the three proposals, and presented them as final committee work products to the NASBLA Executive Board for consideration. To expedite the ERAC committee's delivery of resource and reference modules for these lists, the board authorized the release of the products to an online vote of acceptance by the NASBLA membership. Instructions and documents were provided to all BLAs in an Aug. 2, 2013 email.
For additional commentary on the lists in review during 2013 and the preview of the reference and resource modules, visit NASBLA's Digital Hub for "Accident Reporting Terms & Definitions Project: The Rollout Begins" a session conducted during the spring 2013 BLA Workshop, Lexington, Ky.