Sea Tow Slips Up On Boating Safety

Sea Tow Services, a towing services franchise company based in New York and a newcomer to the debate on boating safety, has shamefully distorted an on-going campaign by the 650,000-member Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) which takes issue with a U.S. Department of Homeland Security effort to link boating safety to homeland security. BoatU.S. objects to the fact that government officials are seriously considering requiring millions of recreational boaters to be licensed in the name of national security.

In a July 11 release headlined, “Recreational Boating Safety Record Never Been Better,” BoatU.S. President Nancy Michelman said, “Recent calls by Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard officials that recreational boating would be safer if boaters were “certified” and required to show proof of identification is just not backed up by the facts.” She noted that the rate of recreational boating fatalities per 100,000 boats has been cut by 75 percent and the number of boating fatalities has been reduced by 58 percent since the implementation of the landmark Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971.

“To infer from this statement that BoatU.S. does not support on-going efforts to promote boating safety education is to purposefully misread and mislead the boating public as to our position,” said BoatU.S. founder Richard Schwartz whose organization has supported mandatory education since well before it became fashionable.

BoatU.S. has a 40-year history of pushing the boating safety envelope beginning with its landmark testimony before Congress in 1969 that led to the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971, establishing the basis for a significant reduction in boating fatalities even as boating participation mushroomed. Now celebrating its 25-year anniversary, the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety alone has directed 1.3 million boaters to take a boating safety course and over 500,000 have accessed the Foundation’s online Boating Safety Course. The Foundation has also provided local boating groups with nearly $750,000 to promote boating safety, distributed over 25 million pieces of boating safety literature, rented EPIRBs over 5,000 times at cost to those going offshore (saving 49 lives) and its free life jacket loaner program for kids is used over 50,000 times per year.

“BoatU.S. has been at the forefront of the nation’s boating safety effort for decades and while we welcome everyone’s participation, public policy making is a complex undertaking requiring a certain level of sophistication and self-serving statements of the kind made by Sea Tow which totally distort the facts should be dismissed for what they are, blatant self-promotion,” said Schwartz.

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