The Sea Tow Foundation announced the winners of its inaugural National Boating Industry Safety Awards at the Elevate Summit in Orlando. The program was sponsored and judged by the National Sober Skipper Advisory Council and funded through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The awards were established to recognize the best boating safety work in the for-profit sector of the recreational marine industry in the United States.
The Top Marine Manufacturer Award for Boating Safety went to Sea Ray Boats.
“Sea Ray Boats launched an effective and highly targeted email and social media marketing campaign over the summer boating holiday weekends and promoted several boating safety initiatives, including the importance of boaters wearing life jackets at all times; practicing responsible drinking and having a designated captain; and staying alert and being award of surroundings,” Gail R. Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation executive director, said in a statement.
MarineMax won the Top Marine Retailer Award for Boating Safety for its efforts in developing hands-on boating safety classes and safety-focused videos. “MarineMax is providing outstanding educational opportunities for new boaters as well as those in need of a refresher,” said Kulp. “In addition, MarineMax social media posts consistently promoted additional awareness about boating safety through ongoing messages via multiple platforms.”
The Top Marine Marketing and Boating Safety Outreach Award went to Yamaha outboards. The engine company tapped Hunter Bland, a professional angler and influencer to deliver safety messages that reached a targeted group of young anglers. “The grassroots campaign featured live special events, coupled with branded campaign video and social media components,” said Kulp.
The Sea Tow Foundation presented its Sober Skipper Award to Freedom Boat Club in recognition of the group’s adoption and promotion of the Sober Skipper program. With more than 200 locations in North America, Freedom Boat Club asks each member to identify a Sober Skipper every time a boat leaves the dock.
“We have worked closely with Freedom Boat Club over the past three years and the company has demonstrated just how easy and effective it is to incorporate the Sober Skipper message into its business model,” said Kulp.
The Sober Skipper National Advisory Council also created a category to recognize marina media efforts to promote boating safety. The winner of the Top Marine Media Award for Boating Safety was Bonnier Corporation for its initiatives and editorial content.