The Safe Boating Month message is clear and simple: To carry. The Wear It campaign is all about staying safe on the water by wearing a life jacket. In May, the Marco Island chapter of America’s Boating Club takes over the National Safe Boating Council’s To carry send a message directly to end users – visitors to the island – when they are out on the water.
Dave Chaney, a new resident of Marco Island, is spearheading the campaign on the island as a member of America’s Boating Club.
“There are a lot of boaters around Marco who are not residents of Marco Island,” Dave Chaney said. “They are here for a short period in condos. Many of them have never really heard a boating safety message before. They rent boats, kayaks, canoes, jet skis, paddle boards. I thought the best way to reach them was to go directly to the companies that rented them boats or put them on a tour boat.
Chaney is asking participating companies to give a short, focused safety speech to their customers before they hit the water. He even found a way to reward attendees by involving local ice cream parlor Sweet Annie’s.
“During their regular safety talk,” Chaney said, “we ask them to insert a 20-30 second message telling their customers that the best thing they can do for safety is to put on a safety vest. rescue – particularly on their children. The number one boating safety statistic is that 80% of all boating fatalities occur in people who are not wearing a life jacket. So if you really want to make an impact on boating and become a safe boater, the first thing you can do on your boat is to get people to wear a life jacket. For all sorts of reasons, you may need a life jacket. With all the styles of life jackets out there today, it’s easier than ever to get a child or adult on board to wear a life jacket. Getting this message across to the island’s boating visitors will be a real step forward in this campaign, especially on this island.
America’s Boating Club was once well known locally as Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron, or simply Power Squadron. America’s Boating Club members teach education classes, provide free ship safety checks, and help National Ocean Services maintain nautical charts and work in partnership with local emergency organizations in the rescue operations.
“I think education is our strength,” Chaney said. “We have our ABC class, which is an introduction to the basics of boating. We have a boating course on Marco Island, we have a partner in command course, where we teach the responsibilities of a mate. We even teach a course on celestial navigation. We also have a navigation simulator that works with a laptop. It simulates tides, currents, wind. Boats up to the size of a freighter. It’s not the same as being on a boat, but it gives you a feeling of drifting, speed, momentum. It makes you aware of all the things you need to be aware of when going out on a boat. When we return next fall, my wife is going to take the pontoon boat simulator course. That’s why I love the club. It’s not at all interested. The course cost is very cheap. We do not charge for boat inspections. We also have instructors who will take you out on the water on your boat for an on-water experience. We just think it’s part of our mission statement.”
Chaney is developing a simple program that has just been deployed on Marco Island. He’s developed a quick three-step program for local businesses to educate, thank and reward boaters.
“I’ve identified 40 businesses on the island that put people on boats every day,” Chaney said. “After doing some background research and talking to a few of them, I found that there are up to 2,000 people going out on a boat every day on this island. A different group of people every day. And I think that’s a conservative number. A Many of these people may not know what safe boating means. Since Safe Boating Week is May 21-27, I thought, “How about we take the month of May as our boating safety message month? I went to Sweet Annie’s and asked if they would participate in thanking the people who had listened to the message boating safety. Tim from Sweet Annie’s immediately agreed. I asked him if we could do something with an ice cream float, because I like the term float. He said, “We can turn around on a float as long as you can get the people who heard the me ssage here.” “My background in business is handing out a wristband with a reminder on it. We got a pretty good turnout for a small amount of money. So I designed a bracelet.”
Chaney wants to start small this year, so he’s targeted four companies he thinks could best help spread the boating safety message.
“Rose Marina puts a lot of people on boats every day,” Chaney said. “We want to give people who put people on the water a campaign that’s so simple, so easy to implement, and so direct that it’s not a burden on their business. The first thing was that I couldn’t clutter It had to be a natural message.
Chaney gave four companies, Rose Marina, Florida Adventures and Rentals, Cool Beans and Dolphin Explorer, the opportunity to get involved. All four enthusiastically accepted his invitation.
“We have a message we want to get across with seven boating tips from the National Safe Boating Council,” Chaney said. “We want to make sure that we could get all of their crew into the hands of these seven safe sailing tips in a way that was practical and easy to handle. We want the message to be very personal. It’s not just a discourse on safety is linked to this customer, so that he feels at ease on board.
When he was building his campaign, Chaney set a goal of reaching 2,000 boaters for the first time. He quickly found that this number was low.
“I thought that would be a successful goal,” Chaney said. “The first four companies we contacted loved the campaign. And when we looked at the number of people they were going to reach, it was well over 5,000 people. For the first year of the campaign, I tried to find the most diverse group I could find. I wanted a company that rented powerboats and pontoon boats. Rose Marina was at the top of my list. We approached them and they were everywhere. Reaching young people on a motorboat is hard Watching youth on jet skis is not the right ratio same with paddle boards however when it comes to tourist activity especially the Dolphin Explorer the ratio is higher, because the adults bring their children. I approached Bob McConville. When he heard it, he said, “I’m in. I love the opportunity to connect with my audience about this whole experience.” When Bob told me how many kids he could reach in a month, I was shocked. Totally shocked. Cool Beans, a catamaran to the Isle of Capri, takes 50 people, twice a day. They’re there all the time. Their volume is big enough that I can reach that audience of 25 to 50. It’s a captive audience, they’re on board. It’s time for this talk of safety to hit the bull’s eye.
“The last group I wanted to reach was jet skis, paddle boards and kayaks. A company working with this clientele is Florida Adventures and Rentals, a family business. The message of wearing a life jacket is very important for them – they already do. For them, it was just reinforcement to carry the message home.
Chaney also wants the reward phase of his campaign to be simple.
“We took two approaches,” Chaney said, “some like the wristband approach, for some a coupon may work better. I created the coupons and we had sample wristbands made. We ask companies to go through the seven tips safety rules with their tenants, give them the bracelet, thank them and tell them to go to Sweet Annie. The implementation should be very simple. We were lucky that the four companies are coming back and contributing dollars to the campaign. I was way over my budget, and to bring these companies in and say, ‘How can we help you?’ It was just amazing. They were very generous in helping us with some of our costs. I couldn’t have done it without their support. It shows how important safety is to them. Stepping up and investing in the countryside. They know the inconvenience of not having reliable boaters.
On Saturday, May 21, America’s Boating Club will host a Wear It event at Rose Marina. The Marco Island Police Department, Marco Island Marine Fire and Rescue Group, Flotilla 95, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will all be in attendance. Sweet Annie’s will also be there.
“Sweet Annie’s will be there offering ice cream floats to people who show up,” Chaney said.
Chaney hopes this is the start of something big. We want other boat-related businesses on the island to know that there will be opportunities for them to get involved.
“I want all businesses on the island to know that we plan to expand the program next year,” Chaney said, “we want to spread boating safety awareness.”