Members of the US Power Squadrons can now qualify as Program Visitors, alongside its Auxiliary partners. The Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Partner Visitation Program (see http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=V-DEPT&category=rbs-partner-visitation) is a key, community outreach program that encourages business – particularly those with a marine orientation – to display boating safety literature. The Auxiliary or USPS Program Visitor works with the dealer to set up and maintain the display.
As the USPS joins the Auxiliary in the Dealer Visitation Program, it's clear the the display rack becomes neither an Auxiliary display rack nor a USPS display rack, but a RBS display rack, to which both organizations contribute boating safety material and notices of upcoming classes and RBS events.
It's another example, as the next article shows, that “Working Together, We Can Leave a Bigger Wake.”
The first time I met Bud Lomastro, the PR Officer of my local Power Squadron, he said, “You know, when – between the Auxiliary and the Power Squadrons – we're only reaching about 3% of the recreational boating public with our courses and vessel exams, it's hard to pretend that we're in competition with each other.”
He's right. By combining our efforts, we can “leave a bigger wake.”
By approaching media “gate keepers,” such as assignment editors, news editors, and feature story writers together with our USPS counterparts, we can legitimately claim to represent a larger share of a media's readership/viewers, thereby increasing our chance of coverage.
Or, perhaps by working in parallel, we can effectively double our publicity efforts, our personal contacts, media contacts, even signage and handouts. In other words, working alongside each other, we are likely to significantly increase attendance at our events, such as “VSE Blitzes,” Safety demonstrations, etc.
Now perhaps, at some of those events, one gorup or the other will “capture” some of the vessel exams or new members at that event – however, if our extra coverage draws more attendees, then each organization may wind up with more vessel exams, class attendees, or new members than either group would have garnered alone.
And because, although we share common educational and safety goals, our organizations are built on different foundations, each group will probably attract different members. Because we move in different circles, one group's members may have contacts (personal, professional, and in the media) that the other's do not. And because we are different people, “their” members may have skills that “our” members do not. And resources that the other group may not. “They” may have members qualified to teach classes in areas where “we” have few or none.
Some USPS chapters have advertising budgets to publicize activities; while perhaps the Coast Guard Auxiliary has name recognition that the Power Squadrons are still building. Joint advertising may well benefit both organizations.
Many families belong to both organizations. So some USPS members who are not yet (or no longer) Auxiliary members may want to join your flotilla; and some Auxiliary members may find expanded contacts in their local Power Squadron.
Many members of the Power Squadrons own boats; Encouraging cross-membership may increase a flotilla's number of operative Auxiliary facilities.
Finally, there are some editors and event organizers, including some who came of age during the Viet Nam years, who may still have a bias against anything military (we have found that in our division); Approaching them in partnership with the USPS may open those doors.
In short, by building cooperation between two organizations that should be natural allies, we can enhance our ability to get our message out to our target audience, the boating public. By “leaving a bigger wake,” perhaps we can generate more awareness of, and interest in, our mutual message.
(It’s true that, by leaving a bigger wake, we may rattle a dish or two in someone's galley. Perhaps that’s not all a bad thing, if that’s what it takes to wake up some members on both sides to the benefits of working together.)
Let's expand our focus beyond the 3% of the recreational boating public we currently reach to the 97% who need us more than they know.
–Stephen Ellerin BC-BLU 14:43, 30 May 2012 (EDT)
Organized in 1914, USPS is a non profit, educational organization dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable by teaching classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects. USPS members are boating families who contribute to their communities by promoting safe boating through education. USPS members enjoy participating with fellow members on the water and in the classroom. USPS has nearly 40,000 members organized into over 400 squadrons across the country and in some US territories. USPS is America's largest non-profit boating organization and has been honored by three US presidents for its civic contributions.
Each squadron's activities involve the three primary objectives of USPS: community service, continuing education, and enjoying the friendship and camaraderie of our fellow members.
Every squadron offers carefully planned courses in subjects like Seamanship, Piloting, Plotting and Position Finding, Celestial Navigation, Cruise Planning, Engine Maintenance, Marine Electronics, Sailing, and much more. These courses are taught by experienced member instructors, and members who complete them are recognized.
Participating both on-the-water and off with fellow members who are skilled in boating is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. On-the-water activities include cruises, rendezvous, sail races, navigation contests and even fishing derbies. Activities ashore include meetings with marine programs, parties, dinner-dances, picnics and field trips