Boating Safety Youth Award

The Boating Safety Youth Award, sponsored by Patron Member BoatU.S. Foundation, encourages the development of innovating boating safety education programs directed at youth.  

Prior Recipients

2017 - Explorer Club 360

The goal of the Marine Environment Explorer Club 360 program is to teach students to a holistic view of maritime skills. The program teaches children important lessons about stable marine environments, combined with emphasis on life jacket wear, navigation rules, and weather awareness. The program is aimed at students in 6th – 8th grade with activities planned at least twice a week in the summer months. These activities include paddling, sailing, and boating with supplementary lessons provided by the NSBC Close Quarters Boat Control Course curriculum. 

2015 - Sea Scout Base Galveston - Reach Program

The winner of the 2015 Boating Safety Youth Program Award is Sea Scout Base Galveston for their Reach Program. Reach is a 10-week youth oriented boating safety program that combines classroom knowledge with a hands-on water program so students can put their classroom learning to the test. Sea Scout Base Galveston’s Reach Programs gives students classroom knowledge followed by hands-on experience with sailing. The program works to instill in its students a love for learning and exploration of the maritime world.

2014 - Pensacola Sail and Power Squadron - “WaterSmart from the Start!” 

Congratulations to Pensacola Sail and Power Squadron for its “WaterSmart from the Start” program and outreach effort. The purpose of the “WaterSmart from the Start” program is to educate young people about all aspects of safe boating and water practices that could save their life and the lives of others. The program uses a CD interactive tutorial, developed by the U.S. Power Squadron, and includes hands-on activities for youth. The goal is to expose the student to all aspects of boating. Children who have a connection to the water will be the future best stewards of this natural resource. 

2012 - Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron

The 2012 winner of the Boating Safety Youth Award, which is sponsored by the BoatU.S. Foundation, is the Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron. They won for the sailing program they developed for kids. This program is much more than a sailing program. The participants in the program actually build their own Optimist prams and then get to keep them.

The program leader, George Malindzak, hopes that the program will serve as a pilot and be the beginning of a national program within the U.S. Power Squadron. Kids who are accepted in the program must be accompanied by an adult during the construction, training and evaluation periods. This unique experience, which takes a child through the construction phase all the way through racing, should build a lifelong bond between the child and boating.

2011 - Huron Water Safety Day

Huron Water Safety Day was recognized as the 2011 winner of The BoatU.S. Boating Safety Youth Program Award for its day-long safety event held each year since 2007. The Huron Water Safety Day was established in 2007 by representatives from the Huron Fire Department, the Chapman Insurance Group, and the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 09E- 06-05.

The event was designed as a day-long educational outing for third and fourth grade students of Huron schools. The event is broken into five educational sessions, each lasting thirty minutes and covering important aspects of water and boating safety. At the end of the Huron Water Safety Day, each child is given educational materials, a life jacket, and a tee-shirt..

2010 - American Canoe Association

The Paddle Safe, Paddle Smart program is a national research-based educational curriculum designed to introduce middle and high school age youth to the joys of paddling a canoe and/or kayak. The curriculum emphasizes safety and skills and is designed specifically for teachers and youth leaders who want to include paddle sport instruction in their programs.

2009 - Alaska Office of Boating Safety

The Alaska Office of Boating Safety’s Kids Don’t Float School Program (KDF) is designed as a classroom-setting program taught to children and adults who are concerned with cold water immersion and the importance of wearing a life jacket. The different components of the program include the lessons and activities the curriculum utilizes and how one might adapt the KDF program in their own state.

2008 - Miles River & Power Squadron

The “Safe Boating for Kids” Program is an initiative of the Miles River Sail & Power Squadron, located on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The program is planned for and involves all seventh graders (approximately 300) of the Talbot County Schools, Maryland, engaging them in hands-on learning activities related to multiple topics critical to boating safety.

2007 – Denali Borough Water Safety Program

This community based program began in the local schools of rural Alaska with the state initiative “Kids Don’t Float” which promoted water safety to children across the state. With the help of local community partners, the Denali Borough Water Safety Program expanded into a hands-on experience where a group of teens are teaching other students aged 5 to 13. With on-the-water instruction and kids teaching kids, this course provides a unique experience for learning about water safety and brings energy and enthusiasm into the program.

2006 - Pacific Skyline Boy Scout Council

The Pacific Skyline Boy Scout Council’s “Sea Scout Safety at Sea Weekend” was created out of a desire to improve vessel safety instruction and has grown into the largest Sea Scout maritime safety instruction program in the United States. This hands-on program targets high school aged youth 14 years of age and older to teach them different maritime and vessel safety training techniques that can save a Sea Scout, their shipmate and their vessel in case of an emergency.

2005 - Houston Safe Boating Council – Camp WADE

Camp WADE is a three day camp for kids designed to present the theory portion of sailing, kayaking, power boating and personal watercraft operation in conjunction with the required curriculum for the state boating course. The students will then test the skills that they have acquired on the water.

2004 - St. Paul Sail and Power Squadron – Ron Schara’s Kids Fishing Clinic Water Safety Booth

The booth operates on the “LifeSaver” theme. A visual display shows all types of lifesavers, from the candy type to the PFD type for children, adults and animals. Squadron members, who are well versed in water safety, ask and answer questions about the need to wear life jackets and safety on and around the water. As each child leaves the booth, they are given a booklet that deals with water safety.

2003 - Dubois Area School District – Dubois Area School District Boating Water Safety Awareness Program

The goal of this program is to provide water safety education to every student in the 9th grade by offering a challenging, fun and innovative boating safety program. The students participate in hands-on activities and get instruction, books, pamphlets, written materials and actual “in the water” experience during this program.

Program Information

The purpose of the Boating Safety Youth Program Award is to provide a vehicle for recognizing individuals and organizations that have developed and successfully implemented innovative youth boating education programs targeting safety issues and concerns of national interest. The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatU.S.) sponsors the program and is a member of the NSBC.

The goal of this award is to encourage the development of innovative boating safety education programs directed at youth. For a youth boating program to qualify, it must integrate safety practices into the program and be aimed at students less than 18 years of age. Selection priority will be given to unique or innovative programs with the primary goal of increasing boat safety.

Award applications will be evaluated by the NSBC based on criteria that includes a program description, budget proposal, and availability of the program to be duplicated by others. The NSBC may require an interview with the program administrator before final selection of the award is made. This interview may be in person or by phone.

This award includes a cash prize of $2500 to be used for the implementation or enhancement of a youth-oriented boating safety program. In addition, the group will receive a beautiful trophy and a trip to the International Boating and Water Safety Summit (Summit). The attendance at the Summit, travel, lodging and subsistence based on the federal allowance will be covered for one representative of the winning program.

To receive the award, a representative of the winning program must agree to attend the International Boating and Water Safety Summit. The representative will present a 45 minute session on their award-winning youth program.

The award grant may be used to purchase necessary equipment, audio visual aids, printing, teaching aids, program promotion and advertisement, rental time of pool or waterfront facilities, transportation costs to on-water sites or other costs associated with the advancement of the program. Funds may not be used as wages or salaries for instructors.