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USPS Awarded USCG Nonprofit Grant for America’s Boating Channel

credit: America’s Boating Club

United States Power Squadrons® (USPS) has been awarded a new grant from the U.S. Coast Guard to substantially expand America’s Boating Channel, USPS’s boating safety and boater education video service.  

USPS, founded in 1914, is a volunteer-led nonprofit organization of more than 21,000 members dedicated to the shared mission of making boating safer through education. USPS is America’s Boating Club® – For Boaters by Boaters™. Organized locally into 320 squadrons, USPS provides boaters across the nation with the skills they need to boat with confidence and enjoy the waterways. USPS creates and teaches boating classes online, in person, and on the water, and offers free vessel safety checks (VSCs) to ensure that boaters have safe watercraft.

To advance its mission, USPS operates the America’s Boating Channel video service. Now in its seventh year of operation, America’s Boating Channel is financially supported through a series of grants from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. As part of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Nonprofit Organization Recreational Boating Safety Grant Program, USPS was awarded funding to grow and extend America’s Boating Channel from July 2023 through September 2025.

In acknowledging the grant award, USPS National Educational Officer (NEO) Vice Commander Bill McManimen, SN commented, “United States Power Squadrons’ boating safety and boater education video service, America’s Boating Channel, received awards for being the Top Marine Media Outlet in 2021 and for producing the best PSA Video Series in 2022, but its most meaningful award came in June in the form of increased support from the U.S. Coast Guard. Work on the new grant commenced in July and much has already been accomplished. The new grant will enable us to substantially expand America’s Boating Channel into a mainstream media offering over the next three years.”

America’s Boating Channel is targeting four growth areas. 

1) New Video Series
Twelve new titles will be developed, produced, and distributed each year as America’s Boating Channel’s seventh through ninth seasons of boating safety and boater education videos.  For Season Seven, video concepts in development since July include border crossing; preventing slips, trips, and falls; partnering in command; disembarking hazards; boating with small children; engine failure causes and cures; towed sports safety; tying dock lines; introducing automatic identification system (AIS); marine radio etiquette; navigating locks; and why wearing a life jacket is cool. Season Seven video scripts are now being written, which will be followed by field production and launch in Spring 2023. 

2) Viewership Promotion
America’s Boating Channel will stimulate video viewership with a year-round campaign, including daily posts across multiple social networks and media outlets designed to creatively alert and memorably impress upon the boating public the inherent risks associated with boating, to persuade recreational boaters to adopt safe boating behaviors, and to remind them of these behaviors with creative variations on promotional campaign themes. In addition, the service’s exploration of social media platforms with youthful demographics will be rolled-out as a new promotional program. Since July, the service has promoted Season Six videos and a countdown to the public launch of Inlet Drone Videos.

3)) Smart TV
America’s Boating Channel’s smart TV initiative will include the development, launch, and operation of a new free-to-the-user video-on-demand (VOD) app offering boating-themed video content in a format like leading subscription VOD services. A no-cost linear video channel, which will present boating-themed video content on a continuously playing schedule, will supplement the VOD app for a more traditional TV viewing experience. Boating news, sports, and entertainment television programs and motion pictures will incorporate boating safety and boater education videos as public service announcements (PSAs). Technology suppliers and content providers have been participating in the project since July.

4) Inlet Drone Videos
America’s Boating Channel
 will launch a new service offering based on the video concept tested during its prior USCG grant to prepare recreational boaters for their first sorties into harbors, rivers, and other high-traffic entrances. Inlet Drone Videos will feature low altitude aerial shots of leaving from and returning to major US waterways across the nation with narrative explanations. During the grant period, forty inlets will be covered and a training system with production technical details and processes for participants nationwide to create and submit drone footage for inclusion will be offered. The world premiere of Inlet Drone Videos covering Cape Fear, Haulover, and Columbia River will take place November 5.

About Jerry Milani

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Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for FAN EXPO, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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