The big money is in safety
The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water has announced it will be awarding grants of up to $4,000 each to local community organizations and nonprofit groups to fund safe boating projects this year.
And although our state's boating program could use the money the most, it's ineligible. So the door is wide open for any of Hawaii's numerous recreational boating organizations to give it a shot.
"If you ever had a good idea that you believed would make recreational boating safer, this is your chance to act," said Chris Edmonston, director of the Foundation's Boating Safety Programs.
There is nearly $50,000 in total grant funding available this year, so there will obviously be numerous "good ideas" funded around the country.
Historically, the Foundation has awarded nearly $700,000 in Safety Grant funds over the past 17 years to organizations that have developed innovative projects that promote safe boating on local waterways.
Those projects have ranged from creating literature warning of the effects of boating under the influence of alcohol to boat ramp signage informing users about free vessel safety checks or rules of the road.
In fact, there have been at least two projects funded in Hawaii in recent years.
The Kaneohe chapter of Boaters Against Drunk Drivers received funds in 2000 to produce 2,000 laminated cards for its "Tie One On" program.
Then the Kaneohe Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla received funds in 2003 to produce laminated charts of Kaneohe Bay that were used for educational purposes and were posted in local boating facilities.
The 25 projects that were funded nationwide this year included such diverse ideas as airing 32 boating safety radio commercials by an Ohio Power Squadron, and the production and distribution of 400 boating safety T-shirts by an Arkansas C.G. Auxiliary flotilla.
"We believe that the creativity that goes along with a grass roots approach to increase safe boating often yield some very out-of-the-box ideas," Edmonston said.
Fortunately, there is plenty of time for interested groups to create one or more projects, as the deadline to apply isn't until November 1, 2006. The grants will be awarded in late January 2007.
Anyone interested in taking part in this program can download an application at www.BoatUS.com/foundation or call 703-461-2878, ext. 8353 to learn more.
The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research organization primarily funded by the voluntary contributions of the 665,000 members of BoatU.S.
The Foundation operates more than a dozen programs including the only accredited, free, online general boating safety course, a low-cost EPIRB rental program, the "Help Stop the Drops" national clean fueling campaign, and a free kid's Life Jacket Loaner Program.