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Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Program is Saving Lives

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, November 7, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Program is Saving Lives

The Sea Tow Foundation has announced the 2017-2018 grant findings for its Sober Skipper program. First launched in 2015 and now in more than 180 cities across 51 states and territories, the program encourages boaters to be or to designate a Sober Skipper before every boating trip. The Sober Skipper campaign is funded through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

In the United States, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) thresholds differ from state to state regarding who is permitted to operate a boat. Likewise, the penalties for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) vary, even though BUI has consistently been the top contributing factor of fatal boating accidents. Yet not a single state has a law in place that prohibits boaters from possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages while their boat is being used for recreational purposes, as long as the operator stays below the state’s BAC threshold.

The Sea Tow Foundation is trying to change that, and for the first time in the history of the Sober Skipper Program, it is able to prove that the campaign is having a positive effect on the number of BUI deaths, injuries and accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Accident Statistics.

Among the 51 states and territories that have boating communities who have embraced the Sober Skipper Program, 94 percent have seen a reduction of BUI-related deaths, accidents or injuries, and a total of seven states saw a reduction in BUI across all three categories. Gail R. Kulp, the Sea Tow Foundation’s executive director, said this is definitive proof that the Foundation’s Sober Skipper Campaign is working and that the grassroots efforts used to promote the message have been successful.

“We have seen over 8.4 million people be reached by the Sober Skipper Program this year,” Kulp said. “This is an 800 percent increase and, based on the grant funding provided, this means that it cost less than one cent per person to make a difference and save lives.”

The media generated by the Sober Skipper Program this year was valued at over $215,000 which is more than double the amount of grant funding that the project was awarded. There was also an increase in the number of organizations, agencies and private citizens who requested a set of Sober Skipper wristbands to host a “Take the Pledge” event.

“These results are a big win, not only for the Sea Tow Foundation, but for the boating public at large,” Kulp added. “They illustrate that when the boating community comes together, great things can be achieved. We can’t wait to carry this momentum into the future and hopefully cut BUI deaths to zero.”

To Take the Pledge to be a Sober Skipper or request materials to host an event, visit www.soberskipper.com.

Tags:  2017-18  2019-20  BUI  Funding  Grants  News  Partner  Press Release  Sober Skipper  US Coast Guard  Website 

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Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Use Hits Records at NMMA Boat Shows

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, November 1, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Use Hits Records at NMMA Boat Shows

Thanks to Life Jacket Loaner Stations set up by the Sea Tow Foundation, more than 34,000 attendees at the NMMA-hosted 2019 Tampa and Norwalk Boat Shows left with a better understanding of the importance of life jacket use.

Through partnerships with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Onyx, the Sea Tow Foundation set up two Life Jacket Loaner Stations at each of the boat shows and loaned out more than 400 life jackets across the two events, which were held in late September and late October.

The stations are part of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program – which features more than 575 locations nationwide where boaters can borrow life jackets for free and return them at the end of their boating trip.

The Life Jacket Loaner Stations at the Norwalk and Tampa Boat Shows helped to ensure that life jackets were made available for children and adults visiting the shows as they perused the docks and toured the various boats and other exhibits on display at the shows.

Each Life Jacket Loaner Station was staffed by volunteers from several local organizations, as well as local Sea Tow members and other community volunteers. By the time the shows concluded, more than 54 volunteers offered up their time to help spread awareness on the importance of life jackets.

“It’s so great to see so many different people using our life jackets at these shows,” said Gail R. Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “With each person who borrows a life jacket or sees our life jacket loaner stations, we’re able to help spread a vital message on the importance of life jackets and always having them any time you are in or around the water. These shows are such a great opportunity to help further our cause to ensure boating is safe and fun for everyone involved.”

Kulp added that the Foundation’s presence at the shows was especially beneficial to children and their families, as it provided a valuable learning experience for boaters of all ages.

“Children are required by law to always wear life jackets, so getting them familiar with them at these shows is a great service to boaters,” Kulp said. “Having the opportunity to show these young children, in particular, that life jacket use can be simple, easy and, most of all, fun has a profound impact on the boating community as a whole. We’re so thankful to be able to team up with our friends at NMMA to help spread these important messages at their shows.”

To learn more about the Sea Tow Foundation and its programs, or to find a Life Jacket Loaner Station near you, visit www.boatingsafety.com.

Tags:  2019-20  Boating Safety  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Loaner Partnership  Life Jacket Loaner Station Grant  National Marine Manufacturers Association  News  Onyx Outdoor  Partner  Press Release  Vest Friends. Volunteers 

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A Visit to Sea Tow Southcentral Alaska

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, October 25, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Visit to Sea Tow Southcentral Alaska

In early October, Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director, Gail Kulp, had the opportunity to visit Alaska for the first time to attend a conference. While there, Gail stopped in to see Captain Trey Hill, owner of Sea Tow Southcentral Alaska. Trey owns three Sea Tow locations in Southcentral Alaska: Homer, Seward and Whittier.

Homer is the southernmost location for Capt. Trey. Located roughly 4 hours south of Anchorage, Homer is  home to many shops and restaurants as well as a bustling port for container ships, commercial fishing vessels and thousands of recreational boaters. Sea Tow’s Southcentral Alaskan office is located in town, with a boat docked in port providing boaters peace-of-mind 24/7/365. The Sea Tow Foundation’s life jacket loaner station is also available 24/7/365 for anyone who needs to borrow a life jacket to help ensure a safe day on the water.

Whittier is the easternmost location for Capt. Trey, a glacier-viewing paradise on Prince William Sound, about an hour southeast of Anchorage. Access to Whittier is controlled by the longest combined-use tunnel in North America. The tunnel is one lane and controlled on a tight schedule in 15 minute increments. This allows for vehicle traffic to flow in both directions as well as allow for a train to pass through the tunnel. There is always a full-time captain on Trey’s staff in Whittier to ensure prompt service for boaters; and eliminating any wait for tunnel traffic before Sea Tow help arrives.

Seward, one of the oldest communities in Alaska, is located on Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula about 2 ½ hours south of Anchorage. As a popular cruise port, Seward offers many activities to entertain cruise passengers including kayaking, fishing, whale watching cruises, shopping, or taking a ride on the Alaska Railroad (which begins in Seward). Seward is also very popular among recreational boaters. Gail was lucky enough to get a personal tour from Capt. Trey on a Sea Tow boat. They took in the amazing views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and were lucky enough to see a few otters playing around in the crystal blue waters, which was a highlight for Makena, the dog, who wanted to join in on their fun.

Note from Gail: I fell in love with Alaska and, knowing that the state is 2 ½ times the size of Texas and that I’d only managed to see a small segment of it during my visit, I know that another trip will be in my future and I'm going to bring my family along! Who knows, maybe I’ll be one of the cruise ship passengers coming into port on my next trip! Why don't you plan a trip of your own?

 

 

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Tags:  2019-20  Life Jacket  Life Jacket Loaner Partnership  Life Jacket Loaner Station Grant  Life Jacket Program  News  Onyx Outdoor  Partner  Press Release  US Coast Guard  Vest Friends  Website. 

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5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Boat this Year

Posted By Gail Kulp, Monday, October 21, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Boat this Year

Costumes, candy corn, Jack-O-Lanterns, trick-or-treats, pumpkin spice everything – it’s officially that time of year once again! Here at the Sea Tow Foundation, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. While most blog posts out there share tips on the perfect DIY costume or home decor, we thought, being the boating safety nonprofit we are, we’d take things in a different direction by sharing a few secrets on how to dress up your boat!

If you’re looking for some fun ways to really get into the spooky spirit this Halloween, check out the ideas below:

  1. Spooky Sounds and Halloween Hits – You didn’t splurge for those top-of-the-line marine speakers for nothing! Make good use of your boat’s sound system by playing spooky sound effects or your favorite Halloween hits. You can never go wrong with “Monster Mash!”
  2. Jack-O-Lanterns Galore – There are no shortage of great ideas and themes for carving pumpkins this time of year and you’re sure to turn some heads this Halloween season with well thought out Jack-O-Lanterns on your boat! Use battery-operated lights inside instead of candles, though. Open fires and boats don’t mix!
  3. Pumpkins aren’t just for decorating - Consider signing up for a giant pumpkin water race with some friends. Find a giant pumpkin, hollow it out, put on a life jacket and climb inside. And then see how far you can paddle!
  4. Lights, lights, and more lights – Whether you’re piloting a yacht, a pontoon or a small dinghy, you’ve got room to add a few festive lights to your boat. Even if you don’t have the time or space to really take your haunts to the next level, you can’t go wrong with a string of orange lights to get into the spooky spirit. Just make sure that your navigation lights are still visible and won’t be blocked.
  5. Host a dockside trick-or-treat – A great way to get the young ones hooked on a lifelong love of boating is to spend as much time as possible with them in and around the water. This Halloween, instead of heading door to door in your neighborhood, see if your local marina is willing to host their own trick-or-treat event down on the docks. Everyone can decorate their boat and the dock around it and the kids are sure to love it! They can even find fun ways of incorporating their life jackets into their costume ideas!

Do you have other Halloween-inspired boating ideas? Share them with us on Facebook or Instagram! And if you’re looking to trick your boat out with some treats this season, check out this Halloween themed blog from Sea Tow Services International!

Happy Halloween from the Sea Tow Foundation!!

 

Tags:  Events  Fall  Halloween  Life Jacket  News 

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