Boatsetter Academy Launches to Break Down Barriers to Boating

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Improving accessibility and breaking down barriers are important themes across all kinds of swaths of American life in the 21st century. The sport of boating, like so many things in society, has long been dominated by certain classes and communities, with many other people feeling left out at the helm.

All of which is why Boatsetter recently launched Boatsetter Academy—to help create increased access to boating for everyone.

“We want to share our love for the water and the boating lifestyle with local communities across the nation,” says Boatsetter CEO Jackie Baumgarten. “Boating as a recreational leisure activity has always presented a number of obstacles that prevent people from getting out on the water—from cost and water access to inexperience and safety concerns. We’re taking every step we can to help break down those barriers to entry.”

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What is Boatsetter Academy?

Boating class, Boatsetter Academy.

Boatsetter Academy is a two-hour beginner’s boating course that is free for anyone 18 or older who wants to learn about boating from a U.S. Coast Guard-certified captain. Participants don’t need to own a boat. They simply need to have an interest in learning more about boating.

The course is not a substitute for a full-on boating license or boating safety course, but instead is a way for anyone new to boating to learn the basics and feel more comfortable about the idea of operating a boat.

The Boatsetter Academy course is being offered at a time when interest in getting out on boats is at peak levels all across the country. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, an estimated 100 million Americans are now hitting the waterways to go boating every year. First-time boat buyers accounted for 34 percent of boat sales in 2021, which means a lot of people with no boating experience—along with their friends—are showing interest in boating without necessarily having the skills they need to succeed at the helm.

At the same time, new and inexperienced boaters can run into trouble—and want to prevent it. Sea Tow Services International, which provides towing services for boaters, found in a recent survey that 69% of boaters are looking for more advice on local navigational assistance, mishap prevention, and general boating basics.

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How to Participate in Boatsetter Academy

2022 Boatsetter Academy Launch.

Bridging that gap between boating enthusiasm and boating knowledge is where Boatsetter Academy comes in. The program’s goal is to provide instruction to more than 3,000 new boaters before the end of summer 2022, so newcomers to boating will understand the basics of being out on the water.

“The launch of Boatsetter Academy continues to strengthen our growing community of boaters,” says Kim Koditek, Boatsetter’s head of content and a member of the Sea Tow Foundation Boating Safety Advisory Council. “It provides a safe space and opportunity for anyone interested to get out on the water and gain a new level of comfort on board, and feel more confident in renting or operating their own boat in the future.”

Boatsetter Academy is underway now and available throughout summer 2022 in San Diego, Manhattan, and Miami. Look for more availability soon with Boatsetter Academy opportunities in Seattle; Chicago; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Austin and Dallas, Texas; and Tampa, Florida.

Each two-hour course has a four-student limit to ensure that participants get to take the helm and receive one-on-one instruction from the U.S. Coast Guard-certified captain. Participants can also ask questions about how to continue with their boating education through more formal courses.

To sign up for Boatsetter Academy, reach out to program coordinator Scott Cockburn at ​​scott@boatsetter.com.

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