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Warnings and Labels Project

New Consolidated Warning Labels - Downloadable Artwork is Free!

Intent of the Project

The Warnings and Labels Project is intended to improve boating safety on several fronts.   
  • Identify the “must warn” hazards using statistical accident data
  • Reduce label overload
  • Consolidate the hazard messages into meaningful,  efficient, and comprehensible messages.
  • Standardize the labels across the industry
  • Develop a mechanism for builders to identify the  messages that should be present on their boat

About the Project

The ABYC project was funded by a USCG grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.  The project was based on the findings of National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) commissioned study analyzing information from the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) Boating Accident Reporting Data over five years for a given boat type.  ABYC evaluated existing labels based on the top accident types and created new warning topics as needed.  The top warning topics based on accident type were combined for a given location on the boat (eg: helm, transom, cabin).  The consolidated warning topics were then vetted amongst industry experts as well as evaluated for comprehensibility based on an ANSI Z535 process.  The result was a consolidated warning label for a given location on for a specific boat type.

Value of the Project

The concept of universal labels for all boats would increase the level of safety experienced by boaters. The concept of the same label  (e.g., propeller strike) found in the same location (e.g., swim ladder) on  every boat with a propeller would make the warning universal. Various boat brands would carry the same warnings in the same format creating a familiar display of  safety information across all craft.

Additionally, builders would no longer be concerned with how many instances of “warnings” or “danger” were placed on their particular model  as opposed to the competition. In theory, both boats would carry the same  labels. Boat builders rely on voluntary standards for almost every aspect of  boat building. The natural progression is to produce a standard on keeping a user safe through information.

Large boat companies have resources to employ attorneys to configure and place appropriate warnings. However, smaller builders have historically relied on what they have seen or by instinct. The results of this project will level the playing field in terms of label development between those two segments.

Downloadable Labels

The label artwork and language is free to use. Follow the links below to download the labels or label components.

Downloadable Zip files:

Project Report and Media Press Release

The project report is available for download by selecting the link below. The report details the methodology used in the creation of the labels and how the labels were developed using the ANSI Z535 process.


Questions about the Warnings and Labels Project? Contact Brian Goodwin, Technical Director, at bgoodwin@abycinc.org or 410-990-4460 x115




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