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Sea Tow Foundation Launches Our Newly Redesigned Website

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, March 12, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Launches Our Newly Redesigned Website

We are excited to launch our newly redesigned website that is packed with information for recreational boaters to help keep family and friends safe on the water. The refreshed website also has resources for the marine industry to utilize in their promotions to reach out to their customers.

One of the amazing features of our new site, which is still found at, is that it is now completely functional and responsive on mobile and desktop versions allowing information to be easily found and shared related to our Life Jacket Loaner Program and our Sober Skipper program as well as plenty of other boating safety resources including our online shop, which now boasts plenty of printed materials and program supplies available for free or can be downloaded and printed at no charge at your home or office.

A favorite feature on our “Get Involved” page allows our supporters to interact with each other in ways we’ve never explored before which will provide an even greater value to the boating community nationwide, at no charge to them. Registration is free and you’ll not only receive access to our new newsletter, but also be able to join groups of dedicated people who are already working together to eliminate boating under the influence and reduce drowning incidents.

Our blog has been completely redesigned and is now easier to search for articles about boating safety classes, seasonal boating safety tips, being prepared for a day on the water, and so much more.

We hope you like the changes, and if you have any feedback, please let us know on Facebook and Instagram or click on the Contact Us link on our website.

Tags:  2019-20  boating safety  Life Jacket  Sea Tow  Sober Skipper  Website. 

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Sea Tow Foundation Holiday Gift Ideas for the Boater in Your Life

Posted By Gail Kulp, Friday, December 13, 2019
Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Holiday Gift Ideas for the Boater in Your Life


Tis the season to be jolly! That means it’s time to wrap up your holiday shopping and grab some last-minute gifts for friends and family.


Many people have the thought that boaters are difficult to shop for, but we have a whole boat load of partners that make the perfect gifts for your favorite boater this holiday season. Just a few can be found below:.

  • A brand-new life jacket from Onyx Outdoor – There’s no better gift than safety this holiday season! And whether the boater in your life is a lifelong boater or is just getting started, a life jacket makes a great gift. For your favorite boater, check out Onyx’s line of awesome inflatable life jackets, which allow wearers full mobility without sacrificing safety!.

  • A boating safety course from America’s Boating Club – Keeping with the theme of safety, a boating safety class is a great idea for a holiday gift for those looking to cut down on stuff! There are classes for all types of boaters, so whether your gift recipient is an experienced boater looking to learn a new skill or someone who just started boating this year, there’s no shortage of seminars to take!.

  • A handheld VHF Radio from Cobra – A working emergency radio is so important when you need help, and cell phones often don’t get service when out boating on many waterways. Make sure your loved one can call for help whenever and wherever they boat with a new VHF radio..

  • An Overboard Wireless emergency cutoff device from FELL Marine – Engine cutoff devices can be a crucial piece to the boating safety puzzle, but there are countless boaters out there who don’t use theirs because the typical lanyard designs can limit movement. A wireless cutoff device allows full movement around the vessel while still providing the safety needed if someone unexpectedly ends up in the water so that the engine and propeller can be automatically shut off..

  • Sunglasses from Fishgillz – Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for the boater or angler in your life? Look no further than a set of Fishgillz sunglasses! These sunglasses pair polarized lenses with a special floating technology to combine comfort, style, and function all into one package!.

  • Sea Tow membership –There’s no better gift for your favorite boater than Peace of Mind on the Water. Whether your boating buddies are on lakes, rivers or the open ocean, a Sea Tow membership can be the perfect gift. Memberships come complete with tows, fuel deliveries, jump starts, covered ungroundings and so much more. You can even buy the membership instantly online, making it the perfect last-minute holiday gift in the days, hours and even minutes leading up to whenever your friends and family open their presents!

Tags:  2019-20  Americas Boating Club  Cobra  Engine Cutoff Device  Fell Marine  Fishgillz  Life Jacket  Onyx Outdoor  Sea Tow  US Coast Guard  VHF Radio  Winter 

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Sea Tow Foundation Announces Inaugural Winners of “National Boating Industry Safety Awards”

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Monday, December 2, 2019
Updated: Friday, March 6, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation Announces Inaugural Winners of “National Boating Industry Safety Awards”

Southold, NY, December 2, 2019 – The Sea Tow Foundation recently announced winners of its inaugural National Boating Industry Safety Awards at the Elevate Summit in Orlando. The awards were sponsored and judged by the newly established North American 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 marketplace occurring within the United States.

The Top Marine Manufacturer Award for Boating Safety was presented to Sea Ray Boats. Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director Gail R. Kulp said, “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 aware of surroundings.”

Taking the Top Marine Retailer Award for Boating Safety was MarineMax, a company which has long championed boating safety among boating consumers. Kulp noted, “From the development of hands-on boating safety classes to the production of safety-focused videos, MarineMax is providing outstanding educational opportunities for new boaters as well as those in need of a refresher. In addition, the MarineMax social media posts consistently promoted additional awareness about boating safety through ongoing messages via multiple platforms.”

The Sober Skipper National Advisory Council also created a category to recognize the best work of marine media in promoting boating safety. This year’s winner of the Top Marine Media Award for Boating Safety was Bonnier Corporation whose broad boating safety initiatives and editorial content were reflected in multiple boating consumer titles that reach thousands of readers and recreational boating enthusiasts. “Bonnier Corporation is awarded the top marine media award because they did a great job developing and publishing exceptional safe boating editorial and video content; demonstrated evidence of outreach via extensive data collection; plus hosted a multi-faceted boating safety campaign that crossed print, email and social media channels with entire editions of publications focused on boating safety,” said Kulp.

The Top Marine Marketing and Boating Safety Outreach Award was won by Yamaha Outboards. Said Kulp, “Yamaha tapped Hunter Bland, a respected professional angler and influencer, to deliver spot-on boating safety messages that reached a targeted group of youth and young anglers. The grassroots campaign featured live special events coupled with branded campaign video and social media components.”

In addition, a newly established Sober Skipper Award was presented by the Sea Tow Foundation to Freedom Boat Club in recognition of its outstanding adoption and promotion of the Sober Skipper program. The largest and oldest boat club in North America with more than 185 locations, Freedom Boat Club advocates for boating safety by asking each member at every dock to identify a designated Sober Skipper before departure. While this initiative has reportedly saved Freedom Boat Club thousands of dollars in boat damage and liability costs, it has no doubt saved the lives of members and their friends, while allowing them to maximize and enjoy their time on the water. “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. “We are pleased to establish this new award to recognize the outstanding work of our partners like Freedom Boat Club who actively and successfully promote boating safety and specifically, the Sober Skipper message.”

Added Kulp, “The National Sober Skipper Advisory Council and the Sea Tow Foundation are very pleased by the caliber of candidates and the submissions received for our first awards recognition. We are all delighted to see the great work being done by recreational boating industry organizations and look forward to continuing to support and bring well deserved recognition to outstanding achievers and safe boating champions throughout the recreational marine industry.”

For more information about the North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council and the National Boating Industry Safety Awards, please visit the Sober Skipper website at

Winners of the 2019 National Boating Industry Safety Awards presented at the Elevate Summit are pictured from left to right starting with Gail Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director who presented the awards. Hunter Bland, winner of the Marketing & Outreach Award for Yamaha Outboards. Kevin Falvey and John McEver, winner of the Media Award for Bonnier Corporation. Barry Slade and Nic Thomas, winner of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Sober Skipper Award presented to Freedom Boat Club. Sara Fahy, winner of the Manufacturer Award for Sea Ray Boats. Capt Keith Lake, winner of the Retail Award for Marine Max.

Members of the Sea Tow Foundation’s North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council include David Connolly, Thomas H. Connolly and Sons; David Dickerson, NMMA; Jim Emmons, Water Sports Foundation; Kevin Falvey, Bonnier/Boating Magazine; Mike Hankins, Crevalle Boats; John Jost, Ken Cook Company; Captain Keith Lake, MarineMax; Dave Marlow, Brunswick Corporation; Captain Frank Stoeber, Regal Boats; Nic Thomas, Freedom Boat Club; Stephanie Vatalaro, RBFF; Annamarie Worrell, Emerald Coast Marine Group. The council’s executive Media Contact Gail R. Kulp, Executive Director Sea Tow Foundation 631-876-5077; © 2018 Sea Tow Foundation. All rights reserved. committee includes Kristen Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow Services International; Gail R. Kulp and Michael Wesolowski, Sea Tow Foundation; and Wanda Kenton Smith, Kenton Smith Marketing.

Suggested Tweet and Facebook Post: Four winners have been announced for the inaugural National Boating Industry Safety Awards from Sea Tow Foundation including Sea Ray Boats, MarineMax, Bonnier Corporation and Yamaha Outboards. Freedom Boat Club received the Sober Skipper Award. Info:

Media Contact Gail R. Kulp, Executive Director Sea Tow Foundation 631-876-5077; © 2018 Sea Tow Foundation. All rights reserved.



Tags:  MarineMax  NASSAC  Press Release  Sea Ray Boats  Sea Tow  Sober Skipper  Yamaha Outboard 

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Tips for Loading and Unloading Your Vessel at the Boat Ramp

Posted By Gail Kulp, Thursday, June 13, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Tips for Loading and Unloading Your Vessel at the Boat Ramp

With boating season for most of the country underway, countless boaters are already out sharing in one of America’s greatest pastimes. This can sometimes lead to lines at the boat ramp and busy waterways, which at times, can lead to problems. In light of this, we wanted to make sure our members are prepared with a few boat-ramp tips to keep in mind as they kick-off the new season.

One Sea Tow member, Randall, recently reached out to tell us about he and his family’s recent fiasco at their local boat ramp. Instead of letting it bring him down, Randall wanted to share it as a learning experience to his fellow members far and wide.

Randall and his family were finishing up a fun day of jet skiing on their local waterway. Upon returning to the ramp, he and his son-in-law were loading the jet skis back onto the trailer when peril struck.

With constantly changing conditions – whether it’s weather, water current or something else – no two boating excursions are identical. The same can be said for loading and unloading at the ramp, something Randall and his family experienced firsthand.

Randall’s son-in-law approached the ramp and got out of the vehicle as he’d been taught – engine off and emergency brake set – however, it was low tide. The ramp was wet and the algae that had accumulated throughout the summer made the surface extremely slippery. Long story short, before they knew it, the truck had slid into the water.

In light of the situation, Randall wanted to share a few tips to help boaters who might find themselves in a situation similar to his, with the hope they might come out the other side safe, sound and dry. Below are a few of his tips:

  1. “If the tide is half-to-low tide, I will lock the front axles on my four-wheel drive truck so that the front tires are mechanically locked in on drier pavement.”
    Sea Tow Says: This is a great practice to incorporate into your routine. Before backing down a ramp, note where the algae begins to accumulate and attempt to keep your vehicle off this area; you may not have the traction to recover your boat and trailer with the extra weight.  It may be necessary to wait until a higher tide, use a different lane of the ramp, or use a different ramp all together.
  2. “If my son-in-law (or someone else) is unloading or loading, we use wheel chocks and have a driver stay in the seat.”
    Sea Tow Says: It’s always a good idea to have a buddy help you load up so that someone is readily available to react if things don’t go according to plan. Wheel chocks are a great tool to prevent any sort of sliding, but only if if they are used against the wheels that are NOT on algae.
  3. “Those who are not helping load or unload should stay on land. No passengers are allowed in the truck if it’s on the ramp, just in case the vehicle does slide down.”
    Sea Tow Says: Follow in Randall’s family’s footsteps and have your friends and family wait on shore while you load up on the ramp.

In addition, we have a few tips of our own that both new boaters and those with years of experience can always practice to make sure the loading and unloading process goes as smoothly as possible.

  1. Take the time to make sure everything is ready and aligned before you start loading or unloading. Inspect the ramp’s conditions. Ensure your trailer and boat are ready to be moved. Line everything up carefully to ensure a smooth and safe process.
  2. Only back your trailer in as far as necessary. Backing it in too far may mean getting into the algae with your vehicle, as well as making it more difficult to properly seat your boat on the rollers or bunkers as you drive back up the ramp.
  3. Be aware of conditions. Make note of the tide, wind speeds and current. If you’re fighting rougher conditions, it can make it very difficult to align the vessel properly. Try handy little tips like facing the trailer ever-so-slightly downstream to make things a little easier.
  4. Make sure you’re ready for the worst. Your Sea Tow membership and a corresponding Sea Insure insurance plan can help you in case things go south.

Take the time to load and unload your boat the right way. Don’t become preoccupied with busy ramps or rushing to get home. Give yourself plenty of time and space. Take the proper care and you’ll be much more likely to have a safe and fun-filled day out on the water. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

This article has been republished by permission of Sea Tow and was published on their blog at  If you’d like to share your own boating story for consideration in the Sea Tow monthly newsletter, send them an email at


Tags:  2018-19  Boat Ramp  Sea Tow  Tow Bee Boating Safety Tips 

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Tips for Cleaning Life Jackets

Posted By Gail Kulp, Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Updated: Monday, May 18, 2020

Tips for Cleaning Life Jackets

Spring is a great time to clean your life jackets before getting ready to use them. Sometimes life jackets get put away for the winter and haven’t had a chance to dry out completely which can cause mold or mildew to grow. And southern locations where it is hot and humid throughout most of the year may find life jackets with spots on them. While this doesn’t look very pretty, it does not mean that the life jacket needs to be thrown away. They just need a chance to be cleaned and dried completely before use.

The following tips from our friends at Onyx Outdoor can be used to clean a life jacket of mold or mildew so that it can be safely used again. Just make sure you have a couple of days of dry weather in your forecast before starting.

  1. Use water and mild soap along with a soft brush or clean cloth to scrub the areas where the stains are located.
  2. Rinse with clean water.
  3. If you still notice stains, you may need to repeat the process a few times.
  4. When the life jacket is completely clean, hang it up to dry out of direct sunlight and do not put it back in use or into a storage container until it is completely dry.

Update added May 18, 2020

The following guidelines are provided by the Life Jacket Association on how to properly disinfect life jackets from the COVID-19 Virus.

1.      Use a 60-90% alcohol spray solution and spray the life jacket including the buckles, straps and zippers.

2.      While wearing gloves, hand wash the life jackets with hot water and mild soap. Rinse with clean water.

3.      Do not use bleach or put life jackets in a washing machine.

4.      Allow life jackets to dry completely for 72 hours (3 days) before reusing. Spreading them out in the sunshine and fresh air is the best option to dry them out completely.

Tags:  2018-19  Clean Life Jackets  Cleaning life jackets  Disinfecting life jackets  Education  Life Jacket Drive  Life Jacket Loaner Partnership  Mildew  Mold  Sea Tow 

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Sea Tow Foundation appoints 13 members to serve on inaugural North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

Posted By Michael Wesolowski, Thursday, April 4, 2019
Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2020

Sea Tow Foundation appoints 13 members to serve on inaugural North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council

The Sea Tow Foundation selected 13 marine industry stakeholders to serve on its newly launched North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council, with the goal to collaborate on current and future boating safety messages including its popular Sober Skipper campaign.
"The Sea Tow Foundation is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the non-profit recreational boating safety community and the for-profit boating industry with the launch of the Sober Skipper Advisory Council,” said Executive Director Gail R. Kulp. “The highly qualified group of individuals that were nominated and subsequently appointed to serve on this inaugural council bring extremely valuable insight and unique perspectives which will help us to strengthen industry messaging, awareness and adoption of boating safety initiatives.”
Members of the inaugural Sea Tow Foundation North American Sober Skipper Advisory Council will serve a two-year term. Appointees in alphabetical order include:
• David Connolly, Partner, TH Connolly & Sons Inc.
• David Dickerson, VP State Government Relations, NMMA
• Jim Emmons, Non-Profit Outreach Grants Director, Water Sports Foundation, Inc.
• Kevin Falvey, Editorial Director, Boating Magazine/Bonnier
• Mike Hankins, Operations Director, Crevalle Boats
• Will Higgins, Public Policy Manager, MRAA
• John Jost, Director of Marine Solutions, Ken Cook Co.
• Captain Keith Lake, Delivery Captain, MarineMax
• Dave Marlow, Director, Product Integrity/Government Affairs, Brunswick Corporation
• Captain Frank Stoeber, Team Development Manager, Regal Boats
• Nic Thomas, Corporate Director of Dock Operations, Freedom Boat Club
• Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior VP Marketing & Communications, RBFF
• Annamarie Worrell, Boat Club & Marketing Manager, Emerald Coast Marine Group

In addition, an executive committee of four will direct and facilitate advisory council efforts including Gail R. Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director; Michael Wesolowski. Sea Tow Foundation Director of External Relations; Kristen Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow Foundation Board President; and Wanda Kenton Smith, President, Kenton Smith Marketing.

“Our executive committee was extremely pleased by the high level of interest and the positive response when we announced plans a few months ago to establish this council and extended the nationwide call for nominations,” said Kulp. “While our new council membership represents broad segments of the boating industry, everyone involved shares a strong passion for and commitment to boating safety. Our executive committee is very excited to get underway and to collaborate with these industry stakeholders in this important effort.”

Tags:  Boating Industry  Brunswick  Crevalle Boats  Emerald Coast Marine Group  Freedom Boat Club  Ken Cook  Kenton Smith Marketing  MarineMax  MRAA  NASSAC  RBFF  Regal Boats  Sea Tow  Sober Skipper  TH Connolly & Sons 

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