WSIA Wins Coast Guard Grant To Promote Boat Safety

The Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA) announced today that it has been awarded a U.S. Coast Guard federal grant worth $637,341. The WSIA petitioned for funds to help with the Coast Guard’s mission to increase awareness of boating safety and reduce boating accidents and deaths. As the recipient of the second largest non-profit award for 2011, this news elevates WSIA to one of the marine industry’s most elite organizations.

"We could not be more pleased with this grant award," said WSIA Executive Director Larry Meddock. "The WSIA has become a consistent champion of recreational boating safety especially in the world of towed water sports and now we get to expand this work into all aspects of recreational boating safety."

The Federal Grant was awarded to the educational arm of the WSIA, known as the Water Sports Foundation (WSF). WSF was established more than 5 years ago for this specific purpose. The grant request itself was written by Jim Emmons, President of the WSIA.

"Jim's extensive knowledge of the industry as well as his twenty-one year media career made him the clear choice for this task, but it was his relationship with the media provider that proved significant in designing and negotiating the high-value program on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Meddock.

The WSF has selected Bonnier Corporation as its primary contractor to share the messages on recreational boating safety. Bonnier is the largest marine publisher in the world and was eminently qualified to take the lead in this campaign. Bonnier's team of web developers, writers, graphic artists along with their extensive network of marine magazine titles and websites will work in harmony to take a new and creative message to the market.

"We have been challenged by the U.S. Coast Guard to make a difference in boating safety and we believe that over time, our comprehensive plan will ultimately change public behavior and attitudes," said Jim Emmons, Project Administrator of the U.S. Coast Guard grant.

The plan calls for a multi-faceted delivery of both electronic and print media through Bonnier’s extensive network of marine titles and websites. One interesting educational element will present video “webisodes” that stage a potentially hazardous boating situation and then offer three engaging alternative endings to educate viewers on the proper course of action. Additionally, there will be an exclusive boating safety website that’s linked to the home-page of 16 marine websites, interactive games, banner ads, a social media campaign, as well as video messaging. Newsletter deliveries and print ads will drive consumers to the websites for more information.

"Bonnier Corp is proud to have been selected as the main contractor for this project," said Glenn Hughes, Vice President & Group Publisher for Bonnier. "We are most pleased with the opportunity to work with the U.S. Coast Guard, our many magazine editors and publishers, and of course the WSF as we all try to make a significant difference in recreational boating's all about saving lives.”

The WSF and the WSIA are two non-profit organizations headquartered in Orlando, Florida that promote water sports safety and the unencumbered access of public waterways for the pursuit of watersports activities. WSIA is a member of the National Boating Safety Advisory Council, (NBSAC), the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC), and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). For more information contact the WSIA at 407-251-9039 or visit