Sober Skipper Advisory Council undertakes new safety, award initiatives

The Sea Tow Foundation’s recently appointed North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council held its first meeting in early May to finalize its mission and to establish short-term priorities.

According to Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director Gail Kulp, the purpose and mission of the new council has been reviewed and adopted by its executive task force and the 13 key stakeholder members representing the recreational marine industry.

“We created this new organization to help bridge the gap between the non-profit recreational boating safety community and the for-profit industry,” said Kulp. ”Our council represents the for-profit segment of the recreational boating industry and our desire is to discuss and address general boating safety issues in addition to our Sea Tow Foundation’s signature programs including the Life Jacket Loaner Program and the Sober Skipper Program. By collaborating with council members, we hope to work together to help strengthen overall industry messaging, awareness and adoption of boating safety initiatives.”    

To that effect, top on the agenda was a council-wide introduction to National Safe Boating Week May 18-25. While many were well aware of the annual push and promotion for boating safety messaging prior to the busy Memorial Day weekend, Sea Tow Foundation encouraged active support and engagement through individual and corporate social media initiatives. In addition, Sea Tow Foundation provided a marketing support toolkit for council member to access including relevant content and imagery reflecting boating safety themes.

“The more the recreational boating industry gets on board promoting boating safety, the stronger and more impactful the message will be to general boating public,” said Kulp. “We’ve also invited our council members to share their own company boating safety initiatives and have been very impressed by the good work many of these organizations have already initiated.”

Besides National Safe Boating Week, the council discussed and is underway in the development of a new national boating safety awards program directed to the for-profit segment of the marketplace.

“While there are already boating safety award programs in place in several pockets of the industry, many are sponsored by or recognize the great work of the not-for-profit community and governmental/non-governmental boating agencies,” said Kulp. “Because our effort is targeting the for-profit sector, our awards program will pay tribute to the outstanding work of companies, organizations and individuals within the recreational for-profit boating space.”

The council has formed subcommittees and is currently working to further develop award program plans, parameters, categories and criteria for judging, with the goal to announce and launch the initiative later this year.

“Our executive task force is very enthusiastic by the positive energy and high level of support for boating safety among our council members,” said Kulp. “We look forward to further building upon a strong foundation of boating safety and helping to expand and enhance recreational boating safety efforts moving forward.”

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