USCG Ad on Boating Safety Causes Controversy in Michigan and Beyond

We have to agree with the Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) on this one. We understand the importance of boating safety, but there is a better way to deliver the message. Everything has its dangers.

The MBIA said in a statement that a recent advertising campaign by the U.S. Coast Guard was “misguided and damaging.” The trade group said it intends to contact Congress to “share the boating industry’s outrage” about the ads. “Every year, millions more people participate in boating, yet fatality rates are holding steady across the nation,” said John Ropp, MBIA president in a statement. Ropp said that boating’s safety record is better than snowmobiling and motorcycling in the state of Michigan. “In these uncertain economic times, it is incomprehensible that the USCG is using taxpayer dollars to push a new ad campaign whose only message is that boating is a dangerous activity,” the statement quoted the NMMA as writing to the Coast Guard. The statement did not specify the exact message of the ad campaign, but a banner ad on the Coast Guard’s home page shows a dead foot in a morgue with a toe tag that reads “Don’t let this be you,” and leads to a section on boating safety. “These are taxpayer dollars at work and more care should be taken on how they are spent,” said Ropp. “Not only is this campaign misguided it is also damaging to an important industry and a beloved American pastime.”

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