The mission of the National On-Water Standards (NOWS) Program is to advance the overall level of quality, availability and consistency of On-Water, skills-based instruction in recreational boat operation through the development, integration and application of On-Water Standards within the a National System of Standards for Recreational Boat Operation.
The US Coast Guard's National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC) developed a strategic plan in 2012 designed to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that take place each year in recreational boating accidents. In the plan, NBSAC referenced a significant lack of On-Water instruction in recreational boat operation and set one of the plan's objectives to fill that gap. The NOWS Program is the direct result of that strategic objective.
The program involves bringing together a diverse group of subject matter experts from across the SAIL, POWER and HUMAN-propelled domains of the recreational boating community to collaborate on the development of a consensus-based set of On-Water, skills-based standards for entry-level recreational boat operation. These On-Water Skills-based Standards will also be integrated with classroom and other standards and included within a National System of Standards for Recreational Boat Operation.