01 2014 Program Accomplishments

New Course Partners:

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • United States Coast Guard Auxilary

Courses Produced:

  • Clean Boating
  • Spill Prevention and Response
  • Weather for Boaters

More than 10,000 Fans on Facebook:

  • Reach of over 2 Million
  • Rock the Life Jacket contest
  • Grassroots Grants Voting
  • Kids Afloat Voting

Kids Afloat Stats:

  • Nearly 1,000 life jackets provided at $5 each
  • Served over 20,000 kids in 2014

EPIRB Program:

  • Oddest PLB Rental: Sailor transiting alligator infested waters wanted peace-of-mind.
  • Safest Crew: 1 boat EPIRB and 4 Crew PLBs.

60 Videos Produced:

  • Grassroots Grants Call for Applications
  • Advice from Previous Grant Recipients
  • Foundation Findings Oil Spill Product Testing
  • Partner in Command: Know Your Controls

New Educational Materials:

  • Rules of the Road Decal Redesign
  • How to fit a Life Jacket Infographic
  • Inflatable Life Jacket Maintenance Infographics

Product Testing:

Published results of Oil Product testing examining 20 products that deal with oil and fuel spills

Free State Course Enrollments:

  • 2013: 94,792
  • 2014: 109,664

02 Letter From the President:

A Year at the BoatU.S. Foundation:

In the not too distant past, the Foundation focused heavily on printed materials, having a phone center, and working on just a handful of safety and environmental issues on any given day. It really amazes me how times have changed, and changed so rapidly. 2014 was an evolutionary year for the Foundation, as we continued our efforts to modernize our programs and better use technology to educate boaters—all the while becoming more involved in a wide array of topics that affect boaters. We’ve done this not only through technology, but also through collaborative efforts with other organizations, such as the National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and several other groups. These partnerships greatly expand the reach of the Foundation, and we hope that you will agree that we are now touching more people than we ever have.

We hope you enjoy reading about the Foundation’s accomplishments achieved over the course of 2014, and feel that the wonderful staff at the BoatU.S. Foundation is working hard to ensure that boating is safer, and are waterways cleaner, so that you can enjoy boating for years to come.

Chris Edmonston President of the BoatU.S. Foundation

Chris Edmonston President BoatU.S. Foundation

03 Mission

The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is an innovative leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. The Foundation provides educational outreach directly to boaters and supports partner organizations nationwide.

With millions of boaters on the water, our aim is to reduce accidents and fatalities, increase stewardship of our waterways and keep boating a safe and enjoyable pastime. The BoatUS Foundation is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our work is primarily funded by grants and individual donations.

What Does Boating Mean to You?

Life Jacket Design Competition Call for Entries

04 Online Education


Students completed our Free Online Boating Safety course in 2014


Percent increse of total students completing a course over 2013.


States where our Free Online Boating Safety Course is NASBLA approved.

Foundation Insights

The BoatU.S. Foundation still offers the only free online boating safety course nationwide allowing anyone with a computer to access free boating safety information customized for their state or any state they want to learn more about.

Specialized Online Courses:

We also added to our growing list of online learning partners this year, developing courses for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary in addition to launching our Weather for Boaters course for the United States Power Squadrons. NFWF funded the development of a series of free Clean Boating courses as well as a Spill Prevention, Planning and Response course for marina staff.

Our advanced/specialized online learning team skills include:

Instructional Design

Graphic Design



Together we are working to increase advanced course enrollment and sales.

View Our Course Library →

05 EPIRB and PLB Program

In 2014 0ur EPIRB rental program saved the day when a sailor was dismasted 90 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. After a quick response and several hours of work, the Coast Guard assisted the BoatU.S. member by cutting away the mast and rigging which threatened to capsize and destroy the vessel. As a result, all four people aboard were able to make it back ashore under auxiliary power, but the rigging and sails were a total loss.

 Hover over the circle to learn more!

In 2014, the staff of the EPIRB rental program shipped 204 orders. Of those orders, about one-third were for the small and less expensive personal locator beacon, a significant increase over 2013. Every two years, each beacon registration must be renewed with NOAA. This year all units were renewed bringing the fleet of more than 100 emergency beacons current up through 2016.

"This unit saved our lives – thank you!!!" 2014 Renter

In 2014 0ur EPIRB rental program saved the day when a sailor was dismasted 90 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. After a quick response and several hours of work, the Coast Guard assisted the BoatU.S. member by cutting away the mast and rigging which threatened to capsize and destroy the vessel. As a result, all four people aboard were able to make it back ashore under auxiliary power, but the rigging and sails were a total loss.

06 Grassroots Grants

We are excited to be able to continue to support outstanding local organizations which are doing great work promoting safe and clean boating.

This year our Grassroots Grant program saw nearly 15,000 votes on our website and Facebook page that helped us select 3 projects for funding:

Great Lakes Media Documentary Grant

Great Lakes Media

to produce Making Waves, an hour long PBS documentary about aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and the efforts to control and prevent them.

Regional Science Consortium Grant

Regional Science Consortium

to create a website and educational materials connected to the Lake Erie observing buoy system to inform local and visiting boaters about lake conditions.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center Grant

Loggerhead Marinelife Center

for their Responsible Boater Initiative to promote safe and clean boating as it relates to threatened and endangered sea turtles.

07 Life Jacket Loaner Program

In 2014 we create new educational materials for our Life Jacket Loaner Program including an infographic to help demonstrate how to properly fit a life jacket. These materials along with a new video that is in development will be circulated to all our life jacket loaner sites in 2015.

This year we continued our Kids Afloat program which supports camps and community groups that teach safe and clean boating.


We provided nearly 1,000 life jackets to these groups at a discounted rate of $5 each.


The jackets have served over 20,000 kids in one year alone.

08 Life Jacket Design Competition

Continuing our efforts to spur innovation in the life jacket industry, together with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) we launched our 3rd Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition.

This competition challenges entrants to design a better life jacket. Finalists entries were posted to Facebook and our website to allow the public to weigh in on the jackets they would wear and the winner was announced in Spring of 2015 at the International Boatbuilders Exposition (IBEX).

BoatUS Foundation Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition Logo
BoatUS Foundation Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition Sponsors

09 Marine Debris

Marine debris prevention has continued as a key focus for the Foundation’s clean boating efforts.

The monofilament fishing line recycling program continues to grow with requests for sign and decals to accompany bins coming in every week.

68% Reduction

Our Cigarette Litter Prevention program in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful partnered with 18 marinas in 2014, giving them the tools they need to help prevent cigarette litter at the water’s edge. This year, participating marinas saw on average a 68 percent reduction in the amount of litter as a result of the program.

Learn how to build a Monofilament Recycling bin step by step.

A cleanup event is a great way to help show your commitment to the local community.

The Foundation is now offering a selection of exclusive brochures for download.

Explore our library of Clean Boating Product Tests on boating safety equipment and issues.

10 Website

The Foundation's website is one of our primary tools for delivering education to boaters. In 2014 we had nearly 740,000 visitors to the Foundation website viewing our educational content almost 7 million times.

 Audience Analytics:


Avg. Session




Google Adwords Logo

We also secured a Google grant allowing us to better promote our programs to the boating public through the search engine.

 Website Redesign

We took a close look at our analytics and began a comprehensive plan to redesign the website making it easier to navigate and giving it a fresh, modern look. The redesign will be implemented gradually throughout 2015 and we expect it to be completed in 2016.

11 Video

Our in-house videographer created 60+ videos that range from course videos, program videos, foundation findings, and contest announcements and we used those videos both on web pages and our social sites to make our content even more engaging.


Youtube Views in 2014.

 Visit Our Youtube Channel

BoatUs foundation youtube channel place holder

12 Foundation Findings

Oil and water don’t mix we all know that. But when it comes to boats and water we know that the occasional spill can happen.

In 2014 the Foundation set out to test the effectiveness of a wide range of spill products on the market. These products range from simple absorbent pads to sprays, powders and bioremediation products. We tested over 20 products both in a lab and in our hands-on practical tests to see which products really worked to help a boater legally address a small spill. Foundation Findings continues to be a great reference for boaters and marina operators alike and our webpages are consistently among the highest searched when boaters are looking for information.

View Our Findings Library →

13 Financials

Program Expenses
Brochures $56,065
Learn to Sail Course $9,670
Free Online Boating Safety Course $200,207
Conferences & Seminars $118,394
EPIRB Rental $41,212
Sportsman's Forum $85,606
Life Jacket Loaner $76,390
Foundation Findings $17,076
Marine Debris $18,419
Website $171,935
Grassroots Grants $48,602
General Education & Research $195,823
Online Course Development & Support $26,688
U.S. Power Squadron $109,120
Clean Boating Courses $24,716
Navigation Course $10,625
Clean Fueling Program $15,264
Other Programs $61,778
Total Expenses $1,287,590
Contributions $1,047,119
Grants (Federal) $77,532
Other Income (Royalties and Program Income) $224,038
Property Donations $938,516
Investment Income $54,210
Unrealized Gain on Investments $19,196
Total Revenue $2,360,611

Other Expenses
Program Services $1,287,590
Management & General $114,282
Boat Donation* $682,654
Fundraising $124,563
Total Expenses $2,209,089

Change in Net Assets $151,522
Net Assets at Beginning of Year $1,499,110
Net Assets at End of Year $1,650,632

*Expenses related to refurbishing donated vessels

income and revenue pie chart
expenses pie chart

Board of Trustees

Brian Wesselman, Chair

President and CEO of Boat America Corporation

Richard Schwartz, Vice Chair

Founder of BoatU.S.

Kirk La, Trustee

COO of Boat America Corporation

Margaret Podlich, Trustee

President, BoatU.S.

Bob Adriance, Trustee

Past Technical Director, BoatU.S.

Bernadette Bernon, Trustee

Past Editor of Cruising World Magazine

Jim Ellis, Trustee

Past President of BoatU.S.

Richard Moreland, Trustee

VP, T. Rowe Price Associates Chair, Audit & Finance Commitee

Ronald Peterson, Trustee

Retired VP, RIS Paper Co.

Robert Putnam, Trustee

CEO, Putnam-Ross Consulting Vice Chair, Audit & Finance Commitee

Ruth Wood, Trustee

Past President, BoatU.S. Foundation

Our Locations:

880 South Picket Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22304

147 Old Solomon's Island Rd, Ste. 513
Annapolis, MD 21401