Ensuring Boat Safety: The Initiatives of Hannah’s Marina Project

Credit Inspired by Hannah

Water activities and boating adventures provide a thrilling and memorable experience for individuals and families alike. However, it is essential to prioritize safety while enjoying these activities to prevent accidents and protect lives. Hannah's Marina Awareness project has been at the forefront of promoting boat safety in the Chesapeake Bay. 

On September 5th, 2020, 23-year-old Hannah Ash lost her life to a tragic boating accident while boating on the Corsica River. Hannah and her friends were heading home from a beautiful day of boating when they unexpectedly hit a shoal. Hannah was quickly thrown overboard and struck by the boat. Hannah was life-flighted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, and later succumbed to her severe internal injuries. Now her family sets out to promote boating safety around the Chesapeake Bay. Through their initiatives and educational programs, they are working diligently to create awareness and instill responsible boating practices within communities. 

Hannah was no inexperienced boater. She grew up boating on the Saint Lawerence River in the Thousand Island Region of New York where she captained her family’s 21-foot Bayliner Capri like a pro. When she accepted a new job and moved to Kent Island, MD, Hannah and her boyfriend were thrilled to purchase a 17-foot open-bow Sea Ray to enjoy during the Chesapeake Bay summer. 

On the day of Hannah’s accident, there was no wind and no ripple in the water to indicate there was a shoal. The night before there was a full moon that caused extreme shifts in the tide. It is Hannah’s family’s mission to educate boaters about the rapid pace at which water currents and tides change on the Chesapeake Bay. 

Hannah's Marine Awareness project has teamed with Tow Jamm Marine (TowBoatUS) of Kent Narrows and Knapps Narrows (Sarah and Adam Lawrence) to develop a Boating Resource sign with a QR Code that links to NOAA's Tide Cycles, NOAA Marine Forecast, Resources, Safe Boating Courses and more. These programs aim to teach individuals about essential boat safety practices, rules, regulations, and emergency procedures. By equipping boaters with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate safely, the organization strives to reduce the risk of accidents and promote responsible boating habits.

One of their most notable efforts is their Boat Safety Packets. Inside boaters can find two checklists. One of the US Coast Guard’s mandatory equipment list for boats 26 feet and less and a “Pre-Departure Checklist” of common sense items for boaters before they take off for a day on the water. 

Not stopping there, Hannah’s family has partnered with local Kent Island boat dealers to include the safety packets as part of their kits when someone purchases a boat. As well as partnering with Queen Annes County to install signs with QR codes at various boat launches, so people can check the tide’s before taking off on their boats.

After working with the Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources, there is now a marker to bring awareness to the shoal at Jacob’s Nose on the Corsica River where Hannah’s boat struck. By partnering with these key stakeholders in the boating industry, they have reached a broader audience and are ensuring that boat safety education is integrated into various community initiatives. For those interested in an on-water boating course in the Kent Narrows/Knapps Narrows area, please visit the Chesapeake Boating Academy for more information.  

Aside from boating, one of Hannah's biggest loves in life was to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Inspired by Hannah was created to move Hannah's vision forward. Through diligent research, the Ash family learned that there was a significant lack of resources available for young adults between the ages of 18-26. Their mission is to share resources on nutrition, fitness, personal growth, and professional development with young women in hopes of empowering them to live their best life. 

Today, Hannah’s family’s commitment to boat safety has made a profound difference in promoting responsible behavior and preventing accidents on the water. Through their educational programs, collaborations, and awareness campaigns, they continue to play a vital role in creating a safer boating environment. Boaters can find Inspired by Hannah at many local events and boat shows such as the Bay Bridge Boat Show, St. Michaels Antique & Classic Boat Show, Annapolis Powerboat Show, and more.

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