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America's Boating Club® salutes volunteers

by Andrew Golden 21 Apr 2020 13:09 PDT

America's Boating Club® members are used to being on the front lines at this time of year, gearing up for National Safe Boating Week, looking for opportunities to increase boater competence and reduce boating fatalities through education and community service. Due to social distancing measures put in place across the country to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, volunteers are helping by staying at home because safety is our top priority - on and off the water.

The volunteer-run America's Boating Club, also known as United States Power Squadrons, has been keeping the Nation's waterways safe since 1914. The 106-year-old, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has a boating community of 337 local clubs and squadrons committed to boating education, boater safety and community service.

To help recreational boaters cope while sheltering in place, America's Boating Channel, the organization's boating video and boater education digital media channel, has launched a weekly online magazine show, America's Boating Channel LIVE. Created by America's Boating Club volunteers, new episodes premiere on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. EDT. Beginning on April 22, each episode will include a segment produced by two young married doctors who discuss staying safe during essential outings.

"We hope to help the recreational boating community better prepare for safer resumption of boating as well as provide worthwhile activities during self-isolation," said Marty Lafferty, America's Boating Channel Project Manager.

Episode six of America's Boating Channel LIVE, debuting on Wednesday, May 13, will focus on National Safe Boating Week, held May 16-22, an important week for the recreational boating safety community. The episode's segments will feature virtual online and social media events promoting life jacket wear, engine cut-off switch use, and other safe boating behaviors. Look for America's Boating Channel LIVE and other boating videos at americasboatingchannel.com and on YouTube.

Clubs and squadrons regularly support their local communities, especially those in need. When Long Island's Patchogue Bay Power Squadron had to cancel its Founder's Day dinner due to COVID-19, members agreed to donate $500, which would have been spent on the event, to the Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue, N.Y., to support healthcare workers.

"As it turns out, the hospital is receiving matching donations! So, our gift will go even further," wrote Patchogue Squadron Commander Michael Sawaya on Facebook.

"With so many people unable to work or go to school, local food banks need donations now more than ever. Sarasota Power & Sail Squadron's executive committee recently approved a $500 donation to the Sarasota All Faiths Food Bank," said Sarasota Squadron Commander Barbara Wolfe.

Although America's Boating Club offers an online boater safety course and 10 interactive online seminars, until now, most local instruction has been in-person, which goes against, most current social distancing restrictions. To continue the organization's mission of keeping local waterways safe, local clubs have begun teaching online using virtual meeting technologies.

Similarly, being unable to meet face-to-face has been challenging for social volunteers. To fill the void and stay in touch, clubs and squadrons have embraced virtual meetings, in addition to regular phone calls and emails. Quite a few also host virtual happy hours to stay social at a distance.

"As a volunteer organization, we could not exist without our members, and we applaud their dedication and support, especially during this challenging time," said Mary Paige Abbott America's Boating Club Chief Commander. "We encourage everyone to stay safe and stay at home until we can get back on the water together."

To learn more about America's Boating Club, please visit www.americasboatingclub.org.

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