Special to 1812Blockhouse
Fifteen community boating safety education programs received a total of $329,378 this year through the Boating Safety Education Grant Program, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“The safety training provided by local grant recipients strengthens our efforts to make sure Ohioans enjoy a fun and safe boating experience,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz.
ODNR increased funding this year which enabled four more organizations to receive funding. This year’s recipients include several local school districts which will be providing boating safety classes to their students in environmental science and recreation programs for the first time.
Individual grant awards provided by ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft range from $3,790 to $30,000. The grant program supports local purchase of safety equipment, such as kayaks, life jackets, and trailers.
The grants are funded by Ohio’s recreational boaters through the Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of a share of the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, and funding from the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Richland County grant recipient was the North Central Ohio Safe Boating Council, which received $3,790.
Last year, 19 community organizations shared $250,000 provided by Ohio boaters and the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft to help fund community boating safety education programs.
Ohio law requires any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, to be able to show proof they have successfully completed an approved boating safety education course if they are to operate any powered watercraft greater than 10 horsepower. Many of the programs also focus on boating skills development and basic water safety.
The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft is mandated by state law to provide boating safety education programs. The division accomplishes this mission by providing annual funding assistance to local communities and nonprofit organizations through a competitive grant program.