2021 IBWSS Program

Join us at #IBWSS21 to explore “Partnerships for Progress.” We’ll take a look at how collaboration through volunteer organizations, state-led agencies, nonprofits, boaters, and the maritime community around the world have shaped recreational boating and water safety communities.

From May 17-19, 2021, participate in daily sessions from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. EDT, or enjoy recorded sessions at your own pace.

Watch amazing speakers, live Q&As, trainings, and more. All from the comfort of your home! Registration is free.


Updated monthly (as of 03/01/2021)

General Sessions

Partnerships for Progress

Speakers | Captain Scott Johnson, U.S. Coast Guard | Summit Singers

Join us for the #IBWSS21 Opening Ceremony, including remarks from the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. National Anthem from the Summit Singers.

Dare to Thrive

Speaker | Dima Ghawi | Executive Coach and Author, Ghawi Consulting

Inspired by her TEDx Talk, Dima uses her personal story of transformation as a powerful teaching tool to encourage women to face and conquer their internal limitations. This keynote recounts the struggles and triumphs of her personal journey with vulnerability and insight that will resonate with each audience member and spark a guiding light for their individual journey of self-discovery and leadership growth. By addressing internal limitations, such as the fear of failure, worries about being judged, and the pursuit of perfection, Dima dares each individual to look deeper into their own internal limitations and equips them with the tools and inspiration it takes to shatter those limitations and emerge as empowered individuals and leaders.

Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971

Speakers | Dave Marlow, Director of Product Integrity and Government Affairs | Nicole Vasilaros, Senior VP Government Relations and Legal Affairs, NMMA 

Recreational boating industry representatives will discuss boating and water safety hot topics such as gear, tech, and more. They’ll identify areas where technology, people, and initiatives are influencing safety since the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971.

Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel

Speakers | Chuck Best Jr., Lou Ann Best, and Twiggy | Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel

In 1978, a baby squirrel was rescued after being blown from her nest during a hurricane. Chuck and Lou Ann Best chose to take her in and make her a part of their family. Shortly thereafter, Chuck bought his daughter a remote-controlled boat for her birthday. Their friends started teasing him saying that he bought it for himself, since he played with it all the time. Defending himself, he quipped, “I have to learn to drive the boat so I can teach my squirrel to water-ski!” Twiggy has been performing since September of 1979, traveling all across the US, Canada, Bermuda, Europe and Germany. She has appeared in numerous books, magazines, newspapers, and television shows all over the world. Then, in November 1997, Chuck Best had a heart attack and drowned while saving the life of his stepfather when boating. Due to her husband’s passing, Lou Ann decided to make water safety an important part of Twiggy’s act. Learn more at twiggysinc.com

World Forum on Boating and Water Safety 

Speakers | Coming soon.

The surge in recreational boating over the past year was not unique to the USA, and increased participation during a worldwide pandemic has created a new set of challenges. Learn from our consortium of boating safety leaders representing the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Singapore, and UK as they discuss their response to the rise in participation. Encouraging behavior change, specific responses to the surge in boating, virtual education and training opportunities, and affirming safe boating behaviors and attitudes are just some of the engaging topics of this dynamic session.

Yes, and: How Collaboration Increases Performance

Speaker | Glenn Anderson | Professional Speaker, Glenn Anderson Speaks

Yes, And. Two words that form the foundation for the rules of performing good improvisational comedy. These same rules used in the business world can improve collaboration. Who knew? Along with his former career at IBM, conference speaker Glenn Anderson enjoyed a second life as an improvisational actor. Trained at Chicago’s famous Players Workshop of Second City, Glenn spent many years performing improvisational comedy every week at a club in Chicago. Laugh and learn from Glenn, and let’s apply “Yes And” thinking to your world.

Breakout Sessions

Adaptive Watersports: How to Create More Opportunities for Inclusive Programming

Speaker | Crystal Skahan | Education & Training Director, Northeast Passage

Through her diverse background in watersports, Crystal has dedicated her professional life to making on the water activities accessible for everyone. Individuals with disabilities should not be held back from recreating on the water. Crystal will address how to best support individuals with disabilities from equipment needs to expanding your watersport program. 

Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp

Speakers | Emma Moore, Search and Rescue Programs Officer, Canadian Coast Guard, Arctic Region | Ian Gilson, Director, Canadian Safe Boating Council | Mark Chanski, Education Director, NASBLA | Ted Rankine, President, PlaySafe Productions (Canada and U.S.)

The creation of Cold Water Boot Camp more than 10 years ago brought a heightened realization of the dangers of accidental cold water immersion regardless of swimming ability and helped draw more attention to the importance of always wearing a life jacket.  It also served to create a protocol for first responders to treat those suffering from hypothermia.Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp will outline what is currently available to reinforce cold water awareness, provide cold water survival tips, and help first responders identify levels of hypothermia and how to deal with them. Speakers include the original producer of Cold Water Boot Camp, the course director of the Canadian Safe Boating Council’s new online cold water education program, a graduate of that online program, and one of the original Cold Water Boot Camp volunteers who is currently serving as the Education Director of NASBLA.

Boat Club vs Boat Ownership

Speaker | Kevin Bonnema | Founding Partner, Carefree Boat Club

Join Kevin Bonnema, owner of Carefree Boat Club, as he breaks down the reasons to join a boat club versus owning a boat. The club, with over 95 different locations, aims to break down any barriers to entry that could prevent someone from getting on the water. Thanks to the ease of access, members represent a diverse crowd – from summer camps and families to retirees.  As COVID-19 has brought changes to the entire world, Carefree has provided an outlet for members to get on the water. Listen in to learn more about club requirements, benefits, and more. 

Chiropractic Wellness for Boaters

Speaker | Dr. Lincoln German | Chiropractor, Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center

Chiropractic care is centered around prevention so boaters and outdoor enthusiasts can continue to enjoy their outdoor sports. Dr. Lincoln German reviews ways to prevent injuries and have long lasting success when outside. Do you question what to do after an injury? Or, what will help you to be pain free when going boating? Dr. German reviews helpful tips that will help you stay on the water for another 15 years.  

Drowning: The Silent Killer of 1-4 Year Olds

Speaker | Dr. Diana Bowman | Professor, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Drowning is a devastating and complex global issue impacted by both physical and social determinants of health. In the United States, as well as in the state of Arizona, drownings are the leading cause of death in children ages one to four years old. The national average for child drowning rates from 2001- 2017, ages one to four years of age per 100,000, is 2.87. Arizona’s rate for the same group during the same period is nearly double that, at 5.39 per 100,000. Among children this age private swimming pools and spas are the primary place for drownings to occur. This presentation will showcase a unique public health partnership between Arizona State University, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Phoenix Children’s Care Network that is focused on providing expert-driven educational interventions to providers and caregivers, tailored to patient age and current developmental level.

Emergency Locator Beacons

Speaker | Mikele D’Arcangelo, Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Management, ACR Electronics | Mario Vittone, Retired U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer

An emergency locator beacon is essential gear for every outdoor adventurer – whether you’re boating, hiking, fishing, geocaching, hunting, or participating in any outdoor activity. It alerts Search and Rescue assets by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite to the nearest Rescue Coordination Center. Mikele D’Arcangelo, vice president of marketing with ACR Electronics, and Mario Vittone, a retired U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer, will discuss how emergency locator beacons work, why these are essential safety gear, and share a case study of six spear fishermen who suddenly found themselves in a life-or-death situation 16 miles offshore – and how an emergency locator beacon led to their rescue.

Fishing for Media

Speaker |  John Trierweiler | Public Information Officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

The media plays a critical role in communicating about boating and water safety. Whether local weather updates, investigation of an accident, boating and water safety tips, or promotion of a local event, the media is a partner in communicating with the public. Join media expert turned public information officer, John Trierweiler, for a frank conversation on the role of the media.

How to Deliver Impactful Communications

Speaker | Kate Neubauer | President, Neubauer Consulting Group

Learn how to create impactful messaging and discover what channels are best for different audiences through a case study approach. Participants will leave with a step-by-step template for their own use.

Importance of Swimming Safety In, On, Around the Water

Speaker | Keri-anne Payne | UK Olympian

Keri-anne will discuss common issues people face when they don’t intend to be in the water – whether from falling from a boat, kayak, or paddleboard or trying to swim ashore in open water. She’ll share from her experience as an Olympic swimmer. Keri-anne was instrumental in creating the Level 2 open water coaching qualification in the UK and to date has helped to empower over 300 coaches to coach open water swimming effectively and safely.

Inspiration and Insights for the Next Generation of Women in the Outdoor Industry

Speakers | Coming soon

There are many women who have been critical to the success of the outdoor industry. Women working in fishing, boating, and other outdoor industries will share their perspectives and advice for the next generation of women pursuing a career in these industries.

How to Build Great Connections with Media

Speaker | Jennifer Moore | YouTube Certified TV, Media Veteran

How has the media changed in the last few years? Why does it matter? 15-year broadcast and media veteran Jennifer Moore reveals her tips for building stronger, more consistent relationships with the media.

Live Beyond Land: Marketing an Outdoor Lifestyle

Speaker |  Laura Fergusson | Manager: Ambassador & Events, Mustang Survival

Case study from Mustang Survival on the growth of a lifestyle brand, Live Beyond Land. This session will take a close look at how marketers can inspire and guide people to take action by sharing a passion for a shared experience – a love for outdoor adventure.

Monsoon Preparedness, A Community-Wide Initiative

Speakers | Courtney Young, Executive Director, American Red Cross Southern Arizona | and others

The local American Red Cross of Southern Arizona highlights the unique relationships and partnerships in rural areas to enhance community preparedness regarding monsoon safety, mitigation, response and recovery.

Outdoor Afro

Speaker | Joseph Mouzan | Chief Operating Officer

Outdoor Afro is the nation’s leading nonprofit that provides a cutting-edge network to celebrate and inspire Blacks to make connections and leadership in nature. Through local leadership and thousands of meet-ups around the nation, Blacks are joining outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, boating, and swimming. With nearly 100 leaders in 30 states and the District of Columbia, Outdoor Afro reaches over 132,000 people across their social platforms daily. Join Joseph Mouzon, Outdoor Afro’s chief operating officer, to learn more about Outdoor Afro and their many outdoor initiatives.

Pool Safety: Layers of Protection

Speaker | Kim Hodges | Founder, National Injury Prevention Council

With the loss of her son Brandon in 1999, Kim began working in the injury prevention field to help bring awareness to other families. The National Injury Prevention Council was created so that other families would not have to suffer the loss of a loved one from an unintentional injury. Brandon’s legacy is saving lives through education and programs that bring awareness to other families. Drownings are preventable with layers of protection, including supervision, multiple layers of barriers, alarms, education, and more. Not one layer of protection is better than the other to protect a child from drowning – it’s a combination of things. Kim drowning risks at home, including: pools, bathtubs, buckets, coolers, and more.

U.S. National Water Safety Plan: Life Jackets

Speakers | Chris Stec, Past Chair, National Safe Boating Council | Tizzy Bennett

Creating a Water Safety Plan for the U.S. is a big task. Capturing the knowledge and experience of water safety stakeholders across the United States is essential in creating a National Water Safety Action Plan which is comprehensive, realistic, and executable. The World Health Organization recommends that all countries create a Water Safety Plan which addresses the nation’s drowning problem.  For the U.S., there will be a framework to support a 10-year plan focusing on six evidence-based drowning prevention strategies that lays out what a model water safety country, state, county, and community should look like. The Life Jacket / PFD / Other Floatation Device Working Group is focusing on strategies for both boaters and non-boaters.

Sea Emergencies

Speaker | Mario Vittone | Retired U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer

Mario Vittone is a retired U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer. His experience saving both recreational and commercial boaters at sea provides insights to help prevent problems at sea and being prepared for when problems do come. Listen in to learn about his personal pre-trip checklists and rules of safe boating.

Small Vessel Operator Qualification System in Japan

Speaker | Akira Tanabe | Examination Department Director | Japan Marine Recreation Association

The qualification system for small vessels in Japan was established in 1951, which is quite early in the world, for vessels with a gross tonnage of less than 20 tons. In Japan, we take measures to ensure the safety of navigation by giving qualifications. In other words, it seeks to prevent accidents through education in the process of granting qualifications. Therefore, it is legally required to impose a national examination as a proof of education and to give a license to successful applicants. The national examination consists of a physical check, a written examination, and a practical examination, and is conducted by a designated examination institution on behalf of the country. Although Japan has a long history of qualification system, it has long been regarded as a lower-class mariner, so the standard of knowledge and skills unique to small vessels has not been established. Since the number of small vessel accidents has not decreased, we must reconstruct the standards for knowledge and skills, and establish safe operation education to accurately convey them and appropriate evaluation examination.

Sun Safety for Boaters

Speaker | Dr. Reena Vaid | Board Certified Dermatologist, Renewal Dermatology

One in five Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Dr. Vaid grew up boating with her family and is now a dermatologist who treats many boaters for skin cancer. Skin cancer can easily be preventable, but it takes dedication to using the correct sun protection. Dr. Vaid shares what to look out for when monitoring your skin and how to stay safest when recreating outside. 

Technical Tips to Level Up Your Virtual Setup

Speaker | Ryan Foland | Global Keynote Speaker, Author, Brand Consultant

Lights, camera, action! Join professional speaker, author, and sailor Ryan Foland as he discusses tips on leveling up your virtual game. From camera to lights to sound, an engaging technical setup matters in an increasingly virtual world. Ryan will share in real time how to go from a beginner’s setup to a more professional setup. By the end of this session, you will leave with a list of tips on how to level up your virtual setup.

The LV Project

Speaker | Dana Gage, Founder

On August 31, 2012, Connor went to a friend’s birthday party at the lake and didn’t come home. At the lake house late in the day, the boys were allowed to swim. Around 8:15pm, while playing a game with his friends, Connor jumped from a high boat dock. He landed badly, and didn’t resurface. Life jackets were not required at this party, the sun had set, and the light was faded. No one could see or reach him. Forty minutes later, Connor was recovered by a dive team, but could not be resuscitated. Connor had just turned 15. Learn how the Gage family is celebrating Connor’s life and helping people LiVe and LoVe buoyantly, on water and in life, through The LV Project.

Uitemate: Open Innovation for Water Survival

Speaker | Dr. Hidetoshi Saitoh | Professor, Nagaoka University of Technology

Uitemate is open innovation for survival skill in water-related accidents. Not only Japanese kids, but children around the world may learn this survival skill to prevent sudden drowning death in life activities. Uitemate decreases the number of children killed by drowning in this decade. Only 30 children became victim in the last year in Japan. The Society of Water Rescue and Survival Research gives more
than 1,000 classes of uitemate for kids in the elementary school before
every summer vacation.

Weather Hazards on the Water

Speaker | Jaret Rogers | Acting Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service

The weather can affect safety on and near the water in countless ways. Some of these are obvious, such as the threat of lightning on the open water, and the potential for rip currents. However, there are numerous other risks which are less evident. Cold water drownings, for example, remain a significant hazard in the spring in the Rockies as recreational swimmers explore frigid stream waters. Strong wind gusts can lead to high waves and capsized boats. This presentation will explore many of the types of weather-related hazards posed to water enthusiasts. More importantly, ways to stay informed and prepared for impactful weather will be discussed to improve weather safety.

Virtual Exhibit Hall

Exhibitors Coming Soon

Browse the IBWSS Virtual Exhibit Hall to learn about the latest in recreational boating and water safety, including opportunities to win prizes!

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