West Marine plans National Safe Boating Week fundraiser

To commemorate National Safe Boating Week next month, West Marine has announced that it will host a weeklong, safety-inspired fundraiser in its stores across North America and on westmarine.com. From May 21-27, the world’s premier Waterlife Outfitter will donate $5 from each life jacket purchase (up to $30,000) to its nonprofit BlueFuture Fund, which supports community-based organizations dedicated to getting young people on and around the water in both recreational and educational capacities.

According to Lindsey Johnson, West Marine’s director of communications, this initiative is critical for the growth of the fund, which distributes tens of thousands of dollars annually through BlueFuture grants.

“If we can expand BlueFuture through fundraisers like this, we can support more nonprofit organizations that are doing good work in their respective communities,” she said. “That means we’re also helping to make a difference in the lives of more children.

“This particular fundraiser also is important to us because we always want to encourage safe, responsible boating,” she continued. “It’s our privilege to support the National Safe Boating Council as it embarks on its annual North American Safe Boating Campaign.”

The National Safe Boating Council represents more than 330 U.S. and Canadian organizations that are committed to reducing boating accidents and enhancing the boating experience. It provides safe boating resources online at www.safeboatingcouncil.org.

In addition to National Safe Boating Week, NSBC and its partners — the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the Canadian Safe Boating Council — also are hosting “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day” May 20 and the “Ready, Set, Wear It! Life Jacket World Record Day” May 21. Such efforts raise public awareness of different life jacket styles, including inflatable life jackets, and demonstrate their comfort and versatility. To learn more, visit www.safeboatingcampaign.com.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2014 Recreational Boating Safety Statistics, drowning was reported as the cause of death in three-fourths of all fatalities, and roughly 84 percent of those who drowned weren’t wearing life jackets.

West Marine will conduct three annual in-store fundraisers this year to support the BlueFuture Fund: National Safe Boating Week in May; World Oceans Day in June; and the Month of Giving in December. The fund also encourages year-round donations through its website, www.westmarine.com/BlueFuture.

The BlueFuture Fund is a donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz. All donations are fully tax-deductible, and twice each year, West Marine awards grants to worthy nonprofit organizations across North America. These much-needed funds allow community-based groups to provide scholarships, purchase new equipment, maintain staff, add programs and so much more.

To learn more about West Marine’s 2016 BlueFuture grants and to submit an application (the spring grant period ends May 1), or for detailed information about the company’s BlueFuture initiative and how you can help, visit www.westmarine.com/BlueFuture.

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