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AIM Marine Group joins with Westlawn on fundraising dinner

The Active Interest Media Marine Group is partnering with the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology to raise awareness and funds for the not-for-profit school, which has trained more practicing boat designers than any other in the world.

“There’s a real shortage of people who really know boat design in the industry,” Westlawn director Dave Gerr said. “It’s so important that we keep on going and raise it to the next level because we contribute so much to the industry. Westlawn trains the people who design the boats the industry runs on.”

To aid the school, the partners scheduled a charity fundraising event dinner in support of Westlawn in correlation with the Oct. 30-Nov. 3 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 at Tranquilo, 2909 Vistamar St., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are a $150 donation to the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology.

"It is an honor to have the AIM Marine Group work side by side with the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology to help ensure that there are many future, talented designers on hand to help build the next generation of boats,” said Gary DeSanctis, group publisher and general manager of the AIM Marine Group. “It is through events like these that we can collectively bring the much-needed awareness and raise funds for such an important and worthwhile cause in our industry."

Active Interest Media owns Soundings Trade Only.

Gerr said the partnership is mutually beneficial to both parties.

"Westlawn is honored that the AIM Marine Group has offered to partner with us and assist Westlawn Institute in raising funds for its future. Making the AIM Marine Group’s enormous reach in the boating industry available to assist Westlawn offers tremendous opportunities for our growth.”

Now in its 84th year, Westlawn pioneered 100 percent distance learning, even at its start during the snail-mail days of 1930.

Today, anywhere from 140 to 300 students are enrolled in Westlawn course work. Hundreds of Westlawn graduates now work in the industry, and some of the best known designers have earned their degrees at Westlawn: Doug Zurn, Rod Johnstone, Tom Fexas, Bruce King and Jack Hargrave are among the long list of names.

“We are the backbone of the industry in many ways, yet too many people don’t realize that,” Gerr said.

Information about the Nov. 1 event is available by contacting Jennifer Jones at



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