2024 IBWSS Communication Awards Honor Leaders in Boating and Water Safety Outreach

The National Safe Boating Council honors leaders in boating safety

CLEARWATER, Fla., April 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) announced the 2024 recipients of the International Boating and Water Safety Summit (IBWSS) Communication Awards in Albuquerque, NM on April 11, 2024. IBWSS is a global event dedicated to education, awareness, and networking for the advancement of boating and water safety.

“We were impressed with the quality of entries received this year and the new campaigns reaching boaters around the nation,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the NSBC. “From local outreach events to national news coverage, and from compelling stories to social media, this year’s recipients are making great strides in their communities.”

Award recipients have been recognized in the following categories: Community Impact, Digital, Giveaways, Print, PSAs, Public Relations, and Research. Note that there are no rankings within categories; winners are listed in alphabetical order. 

Community Impact

American Canoe Association Regional Activity Council: The ACA developed a program to build partnerships between nationally certified ACA paddlesports instructors with state agencies, regional paddling clubs, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and additional paddlesports stakeholders in Tennessee and North Carolina. This effort taught “Kayaking 101” classes at state parks to kick off National Safe Boating Week in 2023, resulting in hands-on training for 279 students by 179 volunteers from 46 organizations, with an estimated in-kind donation of 1,872 volunteer hours. In addition, this effort generated 36 news stories that with more than 200,000 impressions. https://americancanoe.org

At the Helm Training: Committed to making an impact nationally, and in their local community of Stuart, FL, At the Helm Training has made boating safety the central focus of their community outreach. Safety messaging advocates for boating safety, on-water training, wearing life jackets, using an engine cut-off switch, and more. In the last year, At the Helm Training has gained 9000+ followers on social media with a high engagement rate and trained over 400 boaters. https://www.atthehelmtraining.com

Chesapeake Boating Academy with Inspired by Hannah: Along with Inspired by Hannah and TowBoatUS Kent Narrows, Chesapeake Boating Academy reached boating communities through strategic placement of Hannah’s Marine Awareness Boating Resource Signs and Boating Safety Checklist pamphlets. Hannah Ash tragically passed in a boating incident on the Chesapeake Bay in 2020. The signs have QR codes that offer free NOAA weather, tides, charts and more to boaters. In addition, Chesapeake Boating Academy supports the community through on-water training, boat shows, and community events. https://www.chesapeakeboatingacademy.com


America’s Boating Channel: As the only full-time television destination exclusively for boaters, America’s Boating Channel provides boating lifestyle, sports, news, and entertainment genres of TV programming on a streaming platform. This award winning content is watched by thousands of boaters across the nation. Watch America’s Boating Channel on smart TV app platforms Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV, as well as online at americasboatingchannel.com.

At the Helm Training: Each week, At the Helm Training shares a Boating Safety Tip of the Week with engaging videos and graphics in collaboration with The Qualified Captain. Safety messaging advocates for boating safety, on-water training, wearing life jackets, using an engine cut-off switch, and more. With over. 9,000 followers, individual reels reach more than 75,000 accounts. https://www.atthehelmtraining.com

Boat Safe Great Lakes: Over the last year, Boat Safe Great Lakes’ Captain Jon Meyer and team have led a successful social media campaign reaching thousands of boaters with original boating safety content. Boat Safe Great Lakes believes education is the key to unlocking your full potential and achieving your goals. Their courses and programs are designed to provide boaters with the knowledge and skills needed to get out on the open water and safely operate and navigate their vessel. https://boatsafegl.com


Brazos River Authority Lake Granbury Office: During the Lake Granbury Annual Water Safety Awareness Day hosted by the Brazos River Authority Lake Granbury Office, the team shared with their local community about the importance of wearing a life jacket. More than 150 life jackets were given to children during the annual event in Granbury, Texas. The Brazos River Authority has hosted this four-hour event for four years focusing on getting new and properly fitted personal floatation devices to those in need in the community. https://brazos.org


Maryland Natural Resources Police: Realizing a growing need in their community for boating safety materials in Spanish, the Maryland Natural Resources Police translated and produced materials and signage to reach Spanish-speaking boaters, including the Maryland State Requirements for Recreational Vessels. A business card with a QR code to these resources is carried by their officers while on patrol. Other resources available in Spanish include the PWC Rental Test, Boat Maryland presentation deck, and more. https://dnr.maryland.gov

Public Service Announcement

Carter Viss Foundation: Thanksgiving Day 2019 was a perfect diving day. Marine biologist Carter Viss was snorkeling just offshore of Palm Beach when he looked to his right to see a large hull rapidly approaching. With seconds to act, he swam away from the boat and braced for impact. The boat’s propeller severed Carter’s right arm and caused massive injuries to his left wrist and both legs. Miraculously, he survived. Carter is now using his story to improve boater awareness and to protect swimmers and marine life. The Carter Viss Foundation serves as a source to educate the community about the importance of following boating and diving safety protocols. https://cartervissfoundation.org

Public Relations

American Whitewater: Recognized as the experts for whitewater safety for over 60 years, American Whitewater provides input on safety messaging for signage at river access points across the country. Their Open Source Signage Toolbox provides designers and river managers with coherent signage elements and other visual assets that have consistent messaging, iconography and graphic elements that were designed to improve river safety and standardize resources and materials being used for river recreation sites. Supported by research and industry expertise, the following document has been developed to create a comprehensive signage and graphics program that will improve communication, safety, and awareness. This effort is gaining traction with the industry and media. https://www.americanwhitewater.org


Sea Tow Foundation: The Sea Tow Foundation conducted a research project to better understand the types of visual distress signals, what target boater groups know about flares and flare disposal, and how to make flare disposal more accessible for boaters. The results of this research project were compiled into the Flare Education Toolkit which includes videos, infographics, social media and e-newsletter copy, and the list of flare disposal locations. https://www.boatingsafety.com

To learn more about the IBWSS Communication Award recipients, visit https://www.ibwss.org/communication-award-recipients/.

About the National Safe Boating Council

Established in 1958, the National Safe Boating Council is the foremost coalition for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education, outreach, and training. For more information about NSBC programs and professional development opportunities, visit https://www.safeboatingcouncil.org.

Peg Phillips
National Safe Boating Council