Sea Tow Foundation announces 2023 National Boating Safety Award winners

The Sea Tow Foundation, a boating safety non-profit, and its esteemed Boating Safety Advisory Council are thrilled to announce the winners of their fifth annual National Boating Safety Awards. These awards recognize efforts to promote boating safety within the for-profit sector of the boating industry. 

This year, the Sea Tow Foundation received a record-breaking number of entries. The winners of the 2023 National Boating Safety Awards are listed below: 

The award for the top Marine Manufacturer of boats and engines goes to Yamaha. They are continuing to push the industry safety messaging in unique and engaging ways through paid advertising, organic/owned content and by utilizing influencers and brand ambassadors to help extend their reach. Hunter Bland helps support the Yamaha message of boating safety in multiple ways.

The top Marine Gear and Equipment Manufacturer for 2023 is Garmin International. Garmin has previously won this award and, for this year’s entry, they showed how they promoted National Safe Boating Week not only through their own website and social media channels, but by branching out to social media influencers like The Qualified Captain.

Winning the award for top Marine Media Outlet is Bonnier Corporation, whose eight videos portrayed important boating safety messages while evoking strong emotions. The videos span topics such as hunting, fishing and boating which pairs well with the numerous publications offered by Bonnier to cater to various audiences.

Boston Whaler is the winner of the top Marine Public Relations and Marketing Efforts award. Their National Safe Boating Week messaging leveraged the expertise of Capt. Will Rogers. The emails and social media posts covered topics like the importance of life jacket use, how to check your safety flares and using engine cut-off lanyards.

The top Marine Social Media Influencer is Boat Safe Chicago. Utilizing platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok allowed Boat Safe Chicago to reach their goal of educating boaters and making the Chicago waters safer for everyone. One post on the dangers of bow riding garnered over 1.5 million views, 27,000 likes and 900 comments.

The top Marine Retailer winner is Regal & Nautique of Orlando. This small dealership put together a comprehensive plan of how to include boating safety information through multiple touch points all year long. From sending emails to customers and creating social media posts, to producing podcasts, local events, blog posts and professionally shot videos, their efforts showed true buy-in from the dealership on the importance of boating safety. MarineMax received an honorable mention in the Marine Retailer Category for the 2023 National Boating Safety Awards. 

A new award category this year is for the top Marine Trade Association, and the Water Sports Industry Association was named the winner. Their comprehensive plan centered around their Wake Responsibly message, which is simple, but extremely effective. Through the use of physical and digital signage, social media posts and a dedicated website, WSIA encourages safe and responsible wake riding. 

Another new award category in 2023 is for the top Community Boating Education Program. The winner is Boat Safe Chicago, who utilized the National Safe Boating Council’s on-water training curriculum to keep the Chicago waterways safe by educating boaters on safe boat handling and operation.

“Once again, we are thrilled to celebrate and honor the outstanding dedication to boating safety within the for-profit sector of the boating industry,” said Gail R. Kulp, Executive Director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “These remarkable winners have demonstrated a commitment to raising the bar for safety, innovation and excellence in the boating industry. Their achievements reflect not only their individual efforts but also their contributions to making our waters safer for all.” 

The Sea Tow Foundation’s National Boating Safety Awards were presented on Monday, October 2 during the Soundings Trade Only event in Tampa, Fla. prior to the start of IBEX. For more information about this year’s winners, please visit

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