The US Coast Guard (USCG) maintains the Boating Accident Report Database (BARD), which serves as a central, national database of recreational boating accidents. The data come from submissions of CG-3865, a form that boat operators must file when:

as a result of an occurrence that involves the vessel or its equipment: (1) A person dies; (2) A person is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid; (3) Damage to vessels and other property totals $2,000 or more or there is a complete loss of any vessel; (4) A person disappears from the vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury.

The reports (and database) include details about each accident, death, injury, and vessel involved. To learn more, see the agency’s Privacy Impact Assessment for the database, which provides helpful information about the data collection and contents.

Our FOIA request 📄 seeks full copy of the database, minus fields containing personally-identifiable information. It also seeks all relevant database documentation.

Similar copies of the database have been previously been released via FOIA (e.g., to NICAR and MuckRock’s Michael Morisy), but the Data Liberation Project is not aware of any publicly-accessible copies containing data from recent years.

If you’d like to get a head-start understanding the data and working with it, you can explore the data from 1995–2012, obtained by MuckRock and converted to CSVs by the Data Liberation Project.

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