PROVIDENCE – Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit was presented with the John H. Chafee Boater of the Year Award by the RI Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) today at the Providence Boat Show. The John H. Chafee Boater of the Year award recognizes and honors an individual who has contributed to the success of the recreational boating industry in Rhode Island or who has championed the cause to bring recreational boating to the public. "Getting this award from RIMTA is especially meaningful to me because I have so much respect for the people and accomplishments of your organization," said Director Coit. "DEM and RIMTA share an understanding that the quality of the environment underpins and links with the success of our marine trades and tourism industries. We endorse shared goals in promoting healthy coasts and a clean bay."
According to Director Coit, RIMTA served on the Host Committee for the successful America's Cup World Series held at Fort Adams State Park last summer. This premier tourism event attracted over 60,000 people to events over a 9-day period, and an estimated 1.9 million viewers who watched the races live on TV. "The America's Cup World Series races at Fort Adams State Park were an outstanding example of teamwork between DEM, RIMTA and others oriented around celebrating our marine history and enjoying the beauty and power of Narragansett Bay," she said.
Director Coit also noted that DEM has worked in partnership with RIMTA over the years on numerous efforts to promote safe and clean harbors. "In just the past year, we have worked successfully to enact legislation to address marine debris, to establish policies to support clean marinas and pump-out stations, and to celebrate the world-class natural resources and facilities of Rhode Island." The organization has been a key player in the effort to rid Rhode Island's shoreline of accumulated marine debris through the Project Clean Sweep program. RIMTA advocated for a new law and funding mechanism that addresses abandoned vessels which pose a hazard to navigation. Tackling this issue has been important to DEM as well as RIMTA and municipal harbormasters, Director Coit said, and she credited RIMTA's leadership for their dedicated efforts to get this important legislation passed by the General Assembly last year.
The award was presented to Director Coit by RIMTA president Andy Tyska at the conclusion of the trade association's 6th annual Industry Roundtable session entitled "The Next Generation of Boaters."