The Sea Tow Foundation was awarded two grants from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which is administered by the Coast Guard.
A grant of $120,000 continues the foundation’s life jacket loaner program, which has distributed more than 22,000 life jackets to boaters since its launch in 2008.
A grant of $100,000 funds a new national campaign by the foundation called “Designated Skipper.”
The foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that Sea Tow CEO and founder Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer created to promote safe boating practices.
“These two grants will help us to continue giving boaters the tools and education they need to stay safe on the water,” foundation executive director Gail R. Kulp said in a statement. “We would like to thank the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and the Coast Guard for recognizing and supporting these important boating safety programs.”
The foundation stocks more than 220 life jacket loaner stands nationwide where boaters can borrow a life jacket free for a day on the water. The purpose of the grant for that program is to increase the number of loaner stands in the United States, specifically in areas where there have been high incidents of drowning.
Starting in October, the foundation will accept applications from non-profit organizations and state boating agencies across the country to host one or more life jacket loaner stands in their local areas.
The new “Designated Skipper” campaign is part of the foundation’s ongoing effort to encourage boaters to designate a sober skipper when they’re on the water. Public awareness and educational materials will be distributed to boaters in an effort to help them understand the dangers of operating a boat under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The foundation will be working with numerous non-profit organizations, state boating agencies and for-profit companies in the boating industry to help spread this message.
“Boating under the influence and drowning are two of the leading causes of death for recreational boaters,” Kulp said. “These deaths could be prevented by borrowing a properly fitting life jacket and designating a sober skipper each time boaters head out on the water.”