Smith Mountain Lake boating safety advocate Randy Stow receives Sea Tow Foundation Golden Life Jacket award

Sea Tow Foundation
August 7, 2013
Filed under News

Award Honors Local Heroes as Part of Sea Tow’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

Smith Mountain Lake, Va.—August 7, 2013—Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake and the Sea Tow Foundation presented longtime boating safety advocate Randy Stow with its prestigious Golden Life Jacket Award on August 7th at the monthly Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Council meeting held in Moneta, Va. Stow was nominated for this honor by Captains Rick and Nancy Ellett, co-owners of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake.

The Sea Tow Foundation is a nonprofit organization established by Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Founder and CEO of leading on-water assistance provider Sea Tow Services International, Inc., to promote boating safety practices across the U.S. The Foundation launched the Golden Life Jacket Award this year as part of Sea Tow’s 30th Anniversary celebration, and plans to continue it as an annual awards program.

The Golden Life Jacket Award is presented to “local heroes” in communities across the nation who provide guidance to youth on boating safety issues on a volunteer basis, and/or have made a positive difference in their community by promoting boating safety and life jacket use – one of the Sea Tow Foundation’s core missions. Each year, Sea Tow franchisees may nominate candidates from their community whom they feel are worthy of receiving the Golden Life Jacket Award from the Sea Tow Foundation and a local franchise.

“Local heroes like Randy Stow are making a huge difference every day in their boating communities by helping to make boating safer and more enjoyable for everyone,” said Gail Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation.

Stow came to Rick and Nancy Ellett’s attention as a member of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake and also as a fellow member of the Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Council, the Smith Mountain Lake Sail & Power Squadron, and the Smith Mountain Lake Association.

“Every time we show up to participate in a water safety event, Randy is there,” said Capt. Nancy Ellett. "We nominated Randy because he has been involved for a number of years in a lot of different organizations and projects to promote boating safety. He is just an all-around great guy with a great personality."

Stow joined the U.S. Power Squadrons (USPS) in 2007, and later became a certified boating instructor for both the USPS and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Over the past five years, he has provided safe boating instruction to more than 3,500 area students. As a certified Vessel Safety Inspector under the joint USCG Auxiliary and USPS program, Randy inspected 40 to 50 pleasure craft annually, interfacing with boat operators on a one-on-one basis to stress vessel preparedness and safety awareness.

Stow is past Commander of the Smith Mountain Lake Sail & Power Squadron, which has been consistently recognized for excellence in its service to the boating public. During his tenure as Commander, the Squadron nearly doubled in size, allowing it to bring additional resources to bear on public service objectives such as enhancing boating safety for those watching the local 4th of July fireworks from the water.

From 2010 to 2013, Stow served as Chairman of the Smith Mountain Lake Water Safety Council. By sponsoring programs, publications and awards, and coordinating member organization activities, the Council has had a measurable impact in the decrease in local boating incidents and injuries. Stow also serves on the Tri-County Lake Administrative Commission’s (TLAC) Navigation Committee, and is current President of the Smith Mountain Lake Association.


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