2012 National Safe Boating Week to a Wider Audience

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In an attempt to present National Safe Boating Week (NSBW) to as wide an audience as possible, Flotilla 72, Little Egg Harbor/Tuckerton; decided to engage in a broad spectrum of grass-root events in bringing the NSBW message to its surrounding communities; while enhancing the image of the Auxiliary.

Article by: Allison Revy, Jr.; Public Affairs Officer

While the tried and true programs such as a public education classes, safe boating booths at local marina open houses and vessel safety check stations have proved adequate; it was felt more effort and exposure were needed to counter a multi-year increase in New Jersey boating accident/fatality statistics.

Last year, Auxiliarist Kathy Eickemeyer presented a plan for a flotilla safe boating road show program to be presented at local schools. The premise behind the program was simple: “Flotilla 72 is located in Southern Ocean County, New Jersey, in the middle of the Jersey Shore; which is heavily dependent on recreational boating and the associated commerce. Sooner or later, local area children would come into contact with boating and related activities.” The idea became known as the “Kids Triton Project.”

The program made its maiden appearance on May 5th, of this year, at the Little Egg Harbor Community Center. Auxiliary mascots Sammy the Sea Otter and Coastie were on hand; Auxiliary programs on safe boating and marine environmental safety were presented; U.S.C.G. members from Station Barnegat Light and Atlantic Strike Team were present; local groups such as the Tuckerton Environmental Commission, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America participated; and displays of the new banners, signs were purchased through a “Wear It” grant were featured.

During late winter and into spring, members of Flotilla 72 working in conjunction with local marinas have installed and outfitted five new “Kids Don’t Float” children’s life jacket storage sheds. The flotilla is also working with additional marinas to place a shed on their sites. The free life jacket loaner program has gained in popularity with local marina owners.

In March of this year, Auxiliarist Paul LeBrun, working with Flotilla 72 officers, applied for and was granted a “Wear It” Grassroots Support grant from the National Safe Boating Council. The grant monies were used to purchase a large “Wear The banner for parades, displays, etc.; smaller banners, twenty-five “Wear It” signs to be placed at local marinas and boat ramps; and “Saved by the Jacket” DVDs for use at PA booths or presentations to local organizations.

Paul, working with the National Safe Boating Council and local officials. also organized a “Ready, Set, Wear It” life jacket world record day event for Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey; on May 19th. The event marked the start of NSBW, informed local residents about wearing a life jacket and raised the public’s awareness regarding safe boating.

In early May, FC Bob Adams participated in a public service recording session, cutting a message on the need to wear life jackets and the importance of proper sizing and fit. All PSAs recorded during the session will be aired throughout the 2012 boating season.

On May 10th the flotilla was honored by the Little Egg Harbor Township Mayor and Committee at their semi-monthly township meeting. At the meeting, the Mayor and Committee presented a proclamation designating May 19th through May 26th as “National Safe Boating Week” in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

While conducting early recreational boating safety visitations, Auxiliarists Bernyce and Wally Wubbenhorst were asked, by marina owners, about the possibility of replacing several weather beaten signs at local marinas which reminded boaters of the State of NJ laws governing children wearing life jackets. Flotilla 72 had originally placed the signs shortly after the law was enacted in 2000. At their March meeting, flotilla members passed a motion to purchase new signs. Flotilla members will be replacing worn and installing new signs during the 2012 boating season.

And, for the fourth consecutive year; Flotilla 72 marched in the annual American Legion Memorial Day Parade. The flotilla supplied an Auxiliary marching unit, flag bearers and a trailer carrying a Auxiliary patrol boat float featuring the new “Wear It” banner. Auxiliarist Steve Hewitt arranged for and coordinated a USCG helicopter fly over, from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, during the playing of “Taps” at the parade conclusion.

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