Boaters choose groups to receive funding

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — In a unique online voting process that for the first time allowed the public to choose this year’s grantees, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has awarded 10 community groups grants up to $4,000 each for their 2011 Grassroots Grants program.

In the last 23 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 million to organizations that have developed creative projects to promote safe and clean boating on their local waterways, BoatUS says

Over 21,000 total votes were cast and the top vote getter was the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 8CR-1-19 of Panama City Beach, Fla., with over 4,200 votes to produce The Water Safety Discussion & Activity Booklet For Parents And Kids.

“By giving the public a vote, we engage the local community with these projects and it gives boaters a say in what’s important to them,” said BoatUS Foundation Program Manager Alanna Keating. “Grant applicants have also told us they really appreciated the voting format because it gave them a chance to rally supporters and earn some recognition from their community. It’s a real win-win for all.”

Applicants uploaded photos and videos showcasing their proposed project ideas and conveyed their vision. Voting took place via the Foundation’s Facebook page and website.

The 10 2011 Boating Grassroots Grants winners include:

  • FL: US Coast Guard Auxiliary 8CR-1-19, Panama City Beach: to produce The Water Safety Discussion & Activity Booklet For Parents And Kids.
  • HI: Transpacific Marine Debris Survey, Honolulu: to engage racing sailors as citizen scientists and have them collect visual debris observations. This data will be provided to the scientific community and used to educate sailors on the challenges of marine debris.
  • ME: North Pond Association, Smithfield: to construct a communication board; identification cards and magnets to provide information to local boaters on invasive species; and to create Suspicious Species Collection kits to assist boaters in collecting aquatic invasive species.
  • MI: Birmingham Power Squadron, Birmingham: to create six-by-four-feet signs that provide boaters with important boating safety tips and information on required equipment.
  • NC: Clean Jordan Lake, Pittsboro: to produce signage and a brochure on the effects of marine debris and how boaters can help reduce and clean-up debris and to provide web content to boaters on cleanup events and marine debris issues.
  • NY: The Lake George Association, Lake George: to encourage boaters to implement clean boating techniques. Boaters who sign the pledge will be provided with a guide to clean boating and spill prevention materials.
  • VA: Clean Virginia Waterways, Farmville: to expand the participation of boaters in the annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) in Virginia and produce signage and litter prevention educational materials to educate boaters on the impact of marine debris.
  • VA: US Coast Guard Auxiliary 5SR-3-10, Chesterfield: to produce a billboard and signage on life jacket use.
  • VT: Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, Granville: to support The Rozalia Project’s Trash Tour- travelling to community sailing centers from NY to ME to educate children and adults about marine debris and their underwater environment.
  • WI: Cloverleaf Lakes Protection Association, Clintonville: to design and print reusable placemats, table tents and coasters that will contain information on aquatic invasive species and ways to prevent their spread.

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