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Sea Tow Foundation to receive over $1 million in grants to promote Boating Safety

by Sea Tow Foundation 24 Aug 2022 18:51 UTC
Sea Tow Foundation © Jeremy Frechette

The Sea Tow Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting boating safety, will receive over $1 million in grants to advance its Life Jacket Loaner Program and Sober Skipper Campaign.

"We are thrilled to have additional funding to continue our important programs promoting boating safety through our educational programs and resources," says Gail R. Kulp, Executive Director of the Sea Tow Foundation. "These grants help us achieve our mission of keeping the water a safe and fun place for everyone, and we can't wait to see all that this funding will allow us to accomplish in the coming years."

The Life Jacket Loaner Program Grant will run for 3 years. The Sea Tow Foundation has over 950 Life Jacket Loaner Stations across the country, allowing boaters to borrow life jackets to ensure they stay safe out on the water. The funding will go towards purchasing new life jackets and stand building kits, online promotion of the program through social media and virtual conferences and the purchase of a CRM database to automate the life jacket drive process.

The Sober Skipper Campaign and Scientific Research Grant will run until September 2023. The funding will go towards the continued promotion of the campaign, which encourages boaters to always have a designated Sober Skipper behind the helm to help eliminate alcohol related boating accidents, injuries and deaths. The grant will also fund an in-person study conducted by a San Diego State University researcher to determine whether reminding boaters to have a Sober Skipper prior to heading out on the water will impact their behavior.

"Considering the Sober Skipper Campaign brings the concept of having a Designated Driver to the water, we have chosen a researcher who previously worked on behavior change studies surrounding drinking and driving," says Gail R. Kulp. "The finding in that case was that behavior changed for both the driver and passengers when they were reminded about the need to have a designated driver prior to going out to party. It seems that the same study design should work for boaters as well, so this will be an excellent test to determine if that is in fact the case."

Boating Under the Influence is the leading cause of all fatal boating accidents, and is 100% preventable. Similarly, last year, 83% of the people who died in a boating incident drowned because they weren't wearing a life jacket. The Sea Tow Foundation strives to tackle boating safety issues, like these, and both grants will allow the foundation to advance its advocacy work and educational efforts.