Water Sports Foundation Campaign Wins National Boating Industry Safety Award

Southold, NY, December 8, 2021 – The Sea Tow Foundation and its Boating Safety Advisory Council announced six winners today of their National Boating Industry Safety Awards which recognizes the best boating safety work in the for-profit section of the recreational boating industry. Sponsored for the second year by KICKER Marine Audio, the six top contest winners were revealed in a special awards recognition segment held today during the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas national Dealer Week.

Kenton Smith Marketing won the Top Marine Marketing and Boating Safety Outreach Award for the public relations campaign it managed for the Water Sports Foundation.

The Kenton Smith Marketing team built custom content for the newly-launched National Boating Safety Media Resource Center, a one-stop online hub for journalists seeking boating safety content, imagery, video and expert resources,” said Kulp. “Kenton Smith produced a series of highly targeted press releases that garnered more than 601 million media impressions and 490 stories over a five-month period, while the media center attracted 8,500 site visits over the same period. The team scored live interviews on the Weather Channel and dozens of TV stations, along with coverage in USA Today, Men’s Journal, Yahoo Finance and hundreds of national and regional media outlets.

Wanda Kenton-Smith receives the 2021 National Boating Industry Safety Award for Boating Safety Outreach, sponsored by the Sea Tow Foundation, in Austin, TX, Dec. 8, 2021

The Top Marine Manufacturer Award was presented for the third consecutive year to Sea Ray Boats.

Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director Gail R. Kulp said, “Winning this top category for three straight years is a tremendous reflection of Sea Ray’s long-term commitment to boating safety and its concern for the overall well-being of boaters,” she said. “Their application this year revealed a strong emphasis on video messaging incorporating celebrity endorsements over a broad spectrum of safety topics, coupled with an overall integrated marketing campaign that ran on multiple marketing channels.”

Another third-year winner is MarineMax who took home repeat honors for the Top Marine Retailer Award with More Than Three Locations.

“MarineMax utilized multiple methods of outreach including face-to-face opportunities in their locations along with printed flyers, social media, e-mailed newsletters, YouTube, podcasts, and their website,” said Kulp. “Everything was well-produced, professional and easy to digest. They also heavily promoted National Safe Boating Week and focused messaging on the importance of life jacket wear and designating a sober skipper.”

Scoring the highest overall points in this year’s competition was Emerald Coast Marine Group of Niceville, Fla and Orange Beach, Ala in the Top Marine Retailer with One to Three Locations category.

“The Emerald Coast Marine Group created an integrated campaign including an extensive social media initiative featuring a mix of online boating education resources along with a new series of boating safety videos produced internally that show it is possible to accomplish a lot with limited resources,” said Kulp. “The dealership underwrites the cost and promotes in-person boating safety classes in partnership with the USCG Auxiliary. They promote boating safety regularly in their monthly newsletter and heavily promoted National Boating Safety Week with a custom video featuring every member of the dealership team wearing life jackets.”

Winning the Top Marine Media Award is Lafferty Media Partners, LLC who produced contracted work for the U.S. Power Squadrons, now known as America’s Boating Club.

“The Top Marine Media Award recognizes the outstanding effort of media in educating and promoting boating safety to its audience,” said Kulp. “Lafferty Media Partners developed and launched a new America’s Boating Channel which features a growing library of custom boating safety videos featuring content that is highly relevant, including pandemic-specific content that helped boaters during these tough times. They also created a custom website and YouTube channel which featured links to all the videos, making it easy for boaters to connect and find information they want and need.”

Taking home the win for the Top Gear & Equipment Award was Garmin International.

“Garmin is a true leader in boating safety, evidenced by its significant investment in the Navionics app, g3 cartography, inReach satellite communications capability, as well as AIS, GPS and VHS systems. This is in addition to the strong social media campaign it held over National Safe Boating Week that focused on educating the wave of new boaters who joined the boating community over the past two years on enhanced situational and boating safety awareness initiatives that truly impressed the judges,” said Kulp.

“This year’s competition reflects a strong and growing commitment among the for-profit segment of the marine industry to actively promote and advocate for boating safety,” she added. “Our judges were overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions and the excellent contributions of many companies who are committed to making the waterways safer for everyone.”

“The Sea Tow Foundation appreciates the efforts of our council members in judging this year’s competition, along with the continued support of our title sponsor KICKER Marine Audio in making this year’s competition possible,” she said.

Sea Tow Foundation

With a vision of a world where boaters are safe and responsible, the Sea Tow Foundation – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – was established in 2007 by Sea Tow Founder Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer. After his passing in 2015, Captain Joe’s legacy continues as the Foundation provides access to education, tools and resources in order to eliminate preventable boating-related accidents, injuries, and deaths. For more information on the Sea Tow Foundation and its programs, visit BoatingSafety.com.


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