National Boating Federation

Welcome from the National Boating Federation



Founded in 1966, the National Boating Federation (NBF) is the largest non-profit, nationwide alliance of recreational boating organizations. The Federation is composed of boating and yacht clubs and their associations representing over 2,000,000 of America's recreational boaters.

NBF promotes safe boating through education, acts as a legislative watchdog and advocates for favorable boating legislation, regulations and best management practices.

The membership represents no commercial interests and sells no products. The Officers and Directors are all volunteers with strong backgrounds in all aspects of recreational boating. Our membership spans the continent from Canada to Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.

You can count on YOUR National Boating Federation's continuing commitment to the wise and direct use of YOUR boat tax dollars for YOUR benefit … be it adequate access to our ocean waterways, lakes and rivers, right of passage and of anchoring, or promotion of our prudent exercise of those rights. NBF works to avoid onerous legislation and promotes good legislation.

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Here is What's New at NBF

USCG Posts Results of Recreational Boating Survey Results

Recreational boating is one of the most widely enjoyed forms of outdoor recreation in the United States, and understandably so.  Our nation’s spectacular waterways, including the oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, thousands of inland lakes, reservoirs and the many river systems, offer breathtaking boating opportunities nationwide.

In our continuing effort to protect and/or make your boating experience even better, the U.S. Coast Guard and our many partners strive to enhance both safety and enjoyment. Our focused effort begins by gaining the knowledge and understanding of who the boating community is, the assets they use, and defining the services and needs they desire. Through proper planning and insightful stewardship of limited resources, we seek to optimize those resources and align them to meet the boating community’s needs and desires.

This National Recreational Boating Survey is a foundational tool for doing just that. With the data gathered through this Survey, we now have valid scientific estimates of how many boats there are in our country, the types of boats, how many people participate in boating, and how much time is spent boating on the water.

This data is then used to comply with the directions given to the U.S. Coast Guard by the Office of Management and Budget and through audits to assess the effectiveness of our programs and to normalize various performance measures so that we and our partners can determine which variables most significantly influence boating participation and safety (i.e. the weather, the economy, changes in lifestyle, and safety initiatives).

You can locate this data both in this report by clicking here or on the web site. I encourage you to use it to support your efforts and ultimately to inform and enhance the public’s safety and our boating experience.

National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

White House - President Obama issued a notice stating that, to turn the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes into on-the-ground (or on-the-water) actions to benefit the American people, the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan has been developed. The Implementation Plan is intended to describe specific actions federal agencies will take to address key ocean challenges, give states and communities greater input into federal decisions, streamline federal operations, save taxpayer dollars, and promote economic growth. (4/16/13).

EPIRB/PLB - The Life You Save Could Be Your Own

(Downloadable in a printable format or a PowerPoint file)

Recreational Boaters...

If you plan to GO OFFSHORE – (Great Lakes, Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico) – consider taking an EPIRB and PLB. It could save your life!

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is used to alert search and rescue services in the event of an emergency. It does this by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency to a satellite that is then relayed by earth stations to the nearest rescue coordination center within moments of activation. EPIRBs that are equipped with a built-in GPS enables the rescue sources to more accurately identify your position and respond to the emergency.

Personal Location Beacons (PLB) are another type of 406 MHz emergency signaling devise. Usually smaller than an EPIRB, these devices are designed for individual personal use. There are many models available and functions can vary. These are not recommended for maritime use unless they are fully waterproof and can be submerged.

Choose the device that suites your needs and is right for your boating situation. Proper registration of your EPIRB or PLB is essential. This should be done at the time of purchase. You must provide the correct information to:

NBF Developed Safety Brochures Now Available Online...

The U.S. Coast Guard disseminated a Marine Safety Bulletin on 9-1-11 regarding recreational boaters and commercial mariners obtaining a MMSI number to go along with their Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radios. In response to their urgent safety warning the National Boating Federation in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard developed a new brochure, "DSC – Digital Selective Calling – Today’s SOS”. This brochure provides simple instructions on the requirements to enable boaters and mariners to be compliant with the new Rescue 21 program. Most importantly, it enhances the Coast Guard’s capability to more effectively respond to a DSC distress call.

9-1-2011 Marine Safety Bulletin:
'As the Coast Guard’s new marine radio network Rescue 21 becomes operational throughout the U.S., rescue centers can now receive instant distress alerts from commonly used DSC-capable VHF marine radios. However, approximately 90% of VHF DSC distress alerts received by the Coast Guard do not contain position information, and approximately 60% do not contain a registered identity. The Coast Guard cannot effectively respond to a DSC distress alert sent from such a radio.'

NBF has also authored another brochure which points out the advantages of having a VHF radio on your vessel, however, if a cell phone is your only means of communication, there are specific instructions that should be followed.

The National Boating Federation is requesting that you download our "DSC - Digital Selective Calling - Today's SOS" brochure and our "Cell Phone Brochure - Only You Can Take the Search out of Search and Rescue!' and invites your use and dissemination of the information in our brochures for purposes of promoting marine safety in classes, public affairs and group presentations.

Click to Download the Brochures:

"DSC - Digital Selective Calling - Today's SOS" Brochure

"Cell Phone Brochure - Only You Can Take the Search out of Search and Rescue"

Email your order for an NBF burgee. Only $20.00 (includes shipping)

Please indicate "NBF Burgee" in the subject line