NSBC Admiral Club Member, Boat Safe Chicago, Receives 2023 National Boating Safety Awards

The fifth annual National Boating Safety Awards were presented during the Soundings Trade Only Event immediately before the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) in Tampa, Florida on October 2, 2023. National Safe Boating Council Admiral Club member, Boat Safe Chicago, won in two categories, the only company to ever win twice in a single competition.

The Sea Tow Foundation, a boating safety non-profit known for its Life Jacket Loaner Program and Sober Skipper Pledge, sponsors these awards to acknowledge safety efforts in the boating community. The Sea Tow Foundation’s mission is to provide access to education, tools, and resources to eliminate preventable recreational boating accidents and deaths.

Boat Safe Chicago prevailed in the Top Marine Social Media Influencer category. Using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok allowed Boat Safe Chicago to reach their goal of educating boaters. A July 10 post on bow riding dangers, now pinned to the top of their Instagram page, has garnered over 1.6 million views, 27,000 likes, 9,000 shares, and 900 comments.

“In 2023, we must use social media tools to promote boat safety education,” commented Master Captain Jon Meyer, one of the founders of Boat Safe Chicago. “We can achieve safer waters by working together. Boaters, like many people, love their socials! We have partnered with several high-end charter operators and The Playpen Chicago team to help promote maritime safety.”  

A new award category in 2023, the top Community Boating Education Program, brought a second win for Boat Safe Chicago. Using the National Safe Boating Council’s on-water training curriculum and in partnership with Carefree Boat Club and Chicago Harbors, the team from Boat Safe Chicago conducted over 300 training sessions this season. Educating boaters on safe boat handling and operations keeps our waters safer for everyone.

“We have been very pleased with the response from the boating community,” said Captain Jon. “We are ready to expand this spring in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan markets. We are actively looking for partner host sites and licensed captains interested in becoming National Safe Boating Council instructors.”

Other 2023 Sea Tow Foundation Safety Award winners include long-established corporations such as Yamaha, Boston Whaler, MarineMax, and the Water Sports Industry Association. For Boat Safe Chicago, winning two (2) industry awards in their first year of operation is extraordinary. 

“We are so pleased to be honored with two of the international safety awards right here in Chicago. We want to continue to offer world-class boat training here because Chicago is the largest municipal harbor system in the US, with ten harbors and 6,000 boat slips,” notes Captain Jon.

“Once again, we are thrilled to celebrate and honor the outstanding dedication to boating safety within the for-profit sector of the boating industry,” said Gail R. Kulp, Executive Director of the Sea Tow Foundation. “These remarkable winners have demonstrated a commitment to raising the bar for safety, innovation, and excellence in the boating industry. Their achievements reflect their individual efforts and contributions to making our waters safer for all.” 

For more information about this year’s winners, please visit:

About Boat Safe Chicago

Founded in 2022, Boat Safe Chicago believes affordable, basic safety training tailored to Chicago’s waterways’ unique features improves our collective boating experience and keeps us all safer. Harnessing the power of unparalleled Captain knowledge and expertise, Boat Safe Chicago takes action and presents a training program that provides a foundation for safe boating and a training template for other maritime programs.  

Get additional information at

Quoted Contacts: 

Captain Jon Meyer, Boat Safe Chicago Co-founder, 616-510-0106

Gail R. Kulp, Executive Director of the Sea Tow Foundation, 631-876-5077