The Water Sports Foundation launched the first-ever national public relations campaign for recreational boating safety in 2021. Supported by the U.S. Coast Guard and executed by Kenton Smith Marketing, in its inaugural year the program exceeded its outreach goal by nearly ten times.
The Sea Tow Foundation honored the program with its National Boating Industry Safety Award for Marine Marketing and Outreach. Here project director Wanda Kenton Smith sits down with the Sea Tow Foundation’s Gail Kulp to discuss the award-winning program and its impact in delivering highly-targeted boating safety messages.
The project developed a one-stop National Boating Safety Media Resource Center website designed to assist journalists when developing their own stories about boating safety. The media center hosts free content supplied by the Water Sports Foundation and many industry stakeholders including data, statistics, reports, still imagery, video, graphics, as well as a list of boating safety experts available for media interviews.
Kenton Smith Marketing orchestrated a campaign of press releases delivered to a targeted list of more than 6,000 journalists and television producers expounding on six topics of boating safety. Supported by research, the releases covered things such as “Ten Top Boating Safety Tips for Memorial Day and Beyond” and “Hundreds of Thousands of New Boaters and Paddlers Expected Fourth of July Weekend” as attention-getting pre-packaged, ready-to-go stories (complete with images and captions) for editors looking to deliver timely and relevant content to their audiences.
Kenton Smith Marketing won two national awards for its PR campaign during the project’s first year in 2021 including the prestigious Neptune Award for the best PR campaign in the North American recreational boating industry. The campaign’s goal was to produce 65 million gross media impressions, but it delivered more than 601 million — nearly ten times its target. In this short video, Kenton Smith describes how she and the Water Sports Foundation team achieved these astounding results.