In reaching out to all SO-PVs across the district, I have solicited any creative and innovative "best practices" they are currently using within their respective AOR's to better reach the recreational boating public with the Auxiliary's safety message. One such idea came from Division 43 where SO-PV, Jack Myers, is working with his dealer partners to target boaters who are in the process of closing on their purchases and taking delivery of new or used boats. Jack and his team of PV's have come up with a "welcome" or "vessel safety" packet to be included with the usual sales paperwork (owner's manuals, title and registration application, insurance documents, etc.) that local marine dealers turn over to their customers upon delivery of the vessel. The idea behind this program is to provide the dealer/partners with a supply of envelopes pre-stuffed with RBS-PV literature of the type we normally stock in our display cases. The dealers give these packets to their customers at the time of delivery, when the new boater is more likely to be enthusiastic about their new purchase and more receptive to the RBS message.
Included in the packet is a congratulatory letter of introduction (see sample letter under the Resources section) from a local Auxiliary contact (e.g., RBS-PV). The letter gives instructions to the boater on how to get a courtesy VSC and how to find a local boating safety class. The packet contains a set of "vessel-appropriate" RBS brochures. The brochures are standard ANSC-supplied catalog items (life jacket selection, carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, dangers of propellers, etc.). The contents may be further customized depending upon dealer proximity to various types of waterways (inland vs. coastal vs. navigable) by adding federal regulations and/or state regulations, and other ANSC brochures like Rescue 21, the U.S. Aton system, Visual Distress Signaling, etc.
Given the variety of literature available from ANSC, packets can be customized in a number of ways for various boaters; powerboats, paddlecraft, PWCs or sailboats. Another variation on this idea is to work with bait shops and other establishments that sell fishing and hunting licenses. Their packets can be customized with the appropriate RBS literature for anglers and hunters available from ANSC.
This project has the potential to reach additional boaters via a more proactive approach than our traditional self-service displays. Here are some additional ideas to add value to the packets;
There really is no limit to how creative you can get with these packets. Why not get the whole flotilla together for a pizza and "packet-stuffing" party? Have fun with this idea and thank you for all that you do to help make our waterways safe and enjoyable for everyone!
Harvey G. Randall
RBS Program Visitation (DSO-PV)
Ninth Western District Region
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Department of Homeland Security