When more than 100,000 individuals visited this year’s Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show to see the new boats and boating gear, the Sea Tow Foundation made sure that the attendees received a quick course in the importance of wearing life jackets when on or around the water.
As a result of the show’s captive audience, tens of thousands of boating enthusiasts interacted with staff and volunteers from the Sea Tow Foundation, and nearly 500 of those decided to spend extra time learning more about life jackets. Additionally, 365 children borrowed life jackets for the day while they perused the docks and took part in the sea trials that were available.
For the fifth straight year, the Sea Tow Foundation hosted Life Jacket Loaner Stations at the show, which became the organization’s epicenter for education. All of the Foundation’s life jackets were made available from a generous donation from Onyx and the space for the life jacket loaner stations was provided by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Volunteers from local schools, businesses and other organizations staffed the Life Jacket Loaner Stations and assisted the Sea Tow Foundation staff in fitting children with life jackets before they ventured onto the docks with their families.
In order to further promote the importance of life jacket use, the Sea Tow Foundation launched its first-ever Life Jacket Selfie Giveaway Contest at this year’s show. Through partnerships with NMMA, Onyx, FELL Marine, FishGillz, Navionics, Source4 and Formula Boats, the Sea Tow Foundation gave away five prize packs valued at $3,600 to participants who took a selfie while wearing one of the Sea Tow Foundation life jackets at the boat show and posting that photo to social media using the hashtag #LifeJackets4theWin and tagging the Sea Tow Foundation. The contest saw more than 100 people participate in the five days that the contest was open and winners of the prize packs were randomly selected from the social media posts.
“Overall, this year’s Miami International Boat Show was our most successful yet,” said Gail R. Kulp, the Sea Tow Foundation’s executive director. “Not only were we able to interact with 100,000 attendees and teach nearly 500 individuals about life jacket use, we also engaged with countless numbers of boaters, both at the show and watching at home, through our inaugural life jacket selfie contest. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the way things turned out.”
The Life Jacket Loaner Stations at this year’s boat show are part of the Sea Tow Foundation’s nationwide Life Jacket Loaner Program, which hosts more than 600 loaner stations across 43 states. The Sea Tow Foundation also offers other pop-up life jacket loaner stations at the Tampa Boat Show and the Norwalk Boat Show in addition to the stations featured at the Miami International Boat Show.