BWI award to be presented at Ft. Lauderdale show

WILMETTE, Ill. – The Boating Writers International’s West Marine Writer’s Award and $5,000 grand prize, will be presented at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show Oct. 29 during BWI’s annual membership meeting and “Newsmaker” event, BWI said yesterday.

Mark Rosenker, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, will also be on hand to discuss a proposal to require recreational boaters to wear a life jacket while underway.

The winner of the West Marine Writer’s Award was selected from a pool of 38 previous prizewinners from last February’s BWI’s annual writing contest. Unlike BWI’s writing contest, which is judged by BWI members, the winner of this year’s grand prize was selected by a panel of Northwestern University journalism school professors who chose the best writing from among the previous award winners.

West Marine, the nation’s largest specialty retailer of boating supplies and apparel, recently agreed to sponsor the BWI award.

BWI President Michael Sciulla urged journalists attending the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show to attend the BWI “Newsmaker” event.

“Mark Rosenker is a very high-energy kind of guy who also happens to be a Major General in the Air Force Reserve, a former White House official and a recreational boater,” said Sciulla. “We expect a frank exchange of views on the mandatory life jacket issue.”

The proposal to require all boaters to wear a life jacket while underway generated a considerable amount of heat during a NTSB public forum that brought together dozens of boating safety experts from all corners of the marine community last August.

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