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Sea Tow Foundation honors Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake with Hero Award for Outstanding Boating Safety

by Sea Tow Foundation 30 Nov 2023 12:28 PST

In recognition of their ongoing commitment to promoting responsible boating practices, the Sea Tow Foundation is proud to name Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake as the 2023 recipient of the prestigious Hero Award.

The Sea Tow Foundation Hero Award celebrates exceptional dedication to fostering boating safety and is presented to a deserving Sea Tow franchise each year at the Sea Tow Services International Annual Meeting.

"With their continuous dedication and expanded efforts, Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake embodies the spirit of the Sea Tow Foundation Hero Award," said Kim Perry, Program Coordinator for the Sea Tow Foundation. "Their continuous advocacy and proactive initiatives set a remarkable standard for our entire industry, and we are honored to present them with this award for a second time."

Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake made history as the inaugural recipient in 2014. Co-owners and Capts Rick and Nancy Ellett earned the distinction of being the first franchisee to receive this honor for a second time. Located in Virginia, Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake demonstrated exemplary commitment to boating safety this past year by leveraging various initiatives within their Area of Responsibility (AOR). Their remarkable achievements include:

  • Effective use of Sober Skipper signage and promotion through events, like handing out non-alcoholic root beer to boaters during the 4th of July weekend every year.
  • Hosting 8 life jacket loaner stations as part of the Life Jacket Loaner Program.
  • Encouraging participation in the Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Challenge at local events.
  • Extensive community engagement that included covering safety topics in local newspapers and on social media.
  • Providing life jackets to Virginia Military Institute cadets during their field training at the lake and keeping under-served kids safer in life jackets during the Reel Connections fishing event.
  • Continuous representation of the Sea Tow Foundation's mission at events and boat shows.
"We put a lot of work into promoting these programs, and are honored to receive this award. We feel the importance of wearing life jackets cannot be stressed enough - if we can save one life by promoting life jacket wearing and providing loaner life jackets at our boat ramps, then our efforts have been worthwhile," said Capts. Rick and Nancy Ellett of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake. "While we thank our captains for helping us promote water safety, the real hero is the Sea Tow Foundation. They work tirelessly to obtain grants and provide us with the tools we need to make boating safety fun and easy."

The Hero Award was presented at the Sea Tow Annual Meeting in Jupiter, FL, on November 15th, coinciding with the 40th anniversary celebration for Sea Tow Services International.

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