Congratulations to the 2024 IBWSS Communication Award recipients!

The IBWSS Communication Awards recognize the creative ways boating and water safety advocates are communicating with the public about safety on and in the water. Browse the 2024 recipients to get inspired for your next boating and water safety outreach effort.

Community Impact

Recognizes efforts with an impact on a targeted community.

American Canoe Association Regional Activity Council

The ACA developed a program to build partnerships between nationally certified ACA paddlesports instructors with state agencies, regional paddling clubs, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and additional paddlesports stakeholders in Tennessee and North Carolina. This effort taught “Kayaking 101” classes at state parks to kick off National Safe Boating Week in 2023, resulting in hands-on training for 279 students by 179 volunteers from 46 organizations, with an estimated in-kind donation of 1,872 volunteer hours. In addition, this effort generated 36 news stories that with more than 200,000 impressions.

At the Helm Training

Committed to making an impact nationally, and in their local community of Stuart, FL, At the Helm Training has made boating safety the central focus of their community outreach. Safety messaging advocates for boating safety, on-water training, wearing life jackets, using an engine cut-off switch, and more. In the last year, At the Helm Training has gained 9000+ followers on social media with a high engagement rate and trained over 400 boaters.

Chesapeake Boating Academy with Inspired by Hannah

Along with Inspired by Hannah and TowBoatUS Kent Narrows, Chesapeake Boating Academy reached boating communities through strategic placement of Hannah’s Marine Awareness Boating Resource Signs and Boating Safety Checklist pamphlets. Hannah Ash tragically passed in a boating incident on the Chesapeake Bay in 2020. The signs have QR codes that offer free NOAA weather, tides, charts and more to boaters. In addition, Chesapeake Boating Academy supports the community through on-water training, boat shows, and community events.


Recognizes efforts on social media, blogs, or other digital outreach.

America’s Boating Channel

As the only full-time television destination exclusively for boaters, America’s Boating Channel provides boating lifestyle, sports, news, and entertainment genres of TV programming on a streaming platform. This award winning content is watched by thousands of boaters across the nation. Watch America’s Boating Channel on smart TV app platforms Apple TV, Roku, and Fire TV, as well as online at


At the Helm Training

Each week, At the Helm Training shares a Boating Safety Tip of the Week with engaging videos and graphics in collaboration with The Qualified Captain. Safety messaging advocates for boating safety, on-water training, wearing life jackets, using an engine cut-off switch, and more. With over. 9,000 followers, individual reels reach more than 75,000 accounts.

Boat Safe Great Lakes

Over the last year, Boat Safe Great Lakes’ Captain Jon Meyer and team have led a successful social media campaign reaching thousands of boaters with original boating safety content. Boat Safe Great Lakes believes education is the key to unlocking your full potential and achieving your goals. Their courses and programs are designed to provide boaters with the knowledge and skills needed to get out on the open water and safely operate and navigate their vessel.


Recognizes a giveway item used effectively in community outreach.

Brazos River Authority Lake Granbury Office

During the Lake Granbury Annual Water Safety Awareness Day hosted by the Brazos River Authority Lake Granbury Office, the team shared with their local community about the importance of wearing a life jacket. More than 150 life jackets were given to children during the annual event in Granbury, Texas. The Brazos River Authority has hosted this four-hour event for four years focusing on getting new and properly fitted personal floatation devices to those in need in the community.


Recognizes a printed marketing collateral piece.

Maryland Natural Resources Police

Realizing a growing need in their community for boating safety materials in Spanish, the Maryland Natural Resources Police translated and produced materials and signage to reach Spanish-speaking boaters, including the Maryland State Requirements for Recreational Vessels. A business card with a QR code to these resources is carried by their officers while on patrol. Other resources available in Spanish include the PWC Rental Test, Boat Maryland presentation deck, and more.

Public Service Announcement

Recognizes powerful public service announcements sharing boating and water safety messages.

Carter Viss Foundation

Thanksgiving Day 2019 was a perfect diving day. Marine biologist Carter Viss was snorkeling just offshore of Palm Beach when he looked to his right to see a large hull rapidly approaching. With seconds to act, he swam away from the boat and braced for impact. The boat’s propeller severed Carter’s right arm and caused massive injuries to his left wrist and both legs. Miraculously, he survived. Carter is now using his story to improve boater awareness and to protect swimmers and marine life. The Carter Viss Foundation serves as a source to educate the community about the importance of following boating and diving safety protocols. Watch

Public Relations

Recognizes public relations efforts to advance boating and water safety.

American Whitewater

Recognized as the experts for whitewater safety for over 60 years, American Whitewater provides input on safety messaging for signage at river access points across the country. Their Open Source Signage Toolbox provides designers and river managers with coherent signage elements and other visual assets that have consistent messaging, iconography and graphic elements that were designed to improve river safety and standardize resources and materials being used for river recreation sites. Supported by research and industry expertise, the following document has been developed to create a comprehensive signage and graphics program that will improve communication, safety, and awareness. This effort is gaining traction with the industry and media.


Recognizes research efforts to advance boating and water safety.

Sea Tow Foundation

The Sea Tow Foundation conducted a research project to better understand the types of visual distress signals, what target boater groups know about flares and flare disposal, and how to make flare disposal more accessible for boaters. The results of this research project were compiled into the Flare Education Toolkit which includes videos, infographics, social media and e-newsletter copy, and the list of flare disposal locations.

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