USNORTHCOM Donates Life Jackets to Students in Bahamas

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | June 16, 2011

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – U.S Ambassador Nicole Avant and Lieutenant Commander Brian Betz from the United States Coast Guard visited the Agape Christian School in Marsh Harbour and the Hope Town Primary School on Wednesday, June 15 to promote the USCG’s “Youth Safe Boating Campaign.”

 The U.S. Embassy officials were joined by representatives from the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA), the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) and student trainers from the RBDF Rangers Program to educate students about boat safety and how to keep themselves, their families, friends, and fellow boaters out of harm’s way. The presenters also emphasized the importance of wearing a life jacket at all times while on the water, even if you are a good swimmer. At the end of each presentation, students received their very own life jacket thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).

In her remarks, Ambassador Avant encouraged the students to make sound decisions when they are on the water and to not be afraid to speak up if they think that the practices on a boat may not be safe.

“You are all so blessed to live in Abaco where you have access to a rich marine environment that most people in the world only dream about,” said Ambassador Avant. “But with this gift comes one important responsibility – always think of safety first when you are on the water.”

While in Abaco, Ambassador Avant also met with Island Administrator, Mr. Cephas Cooper, representatives of Hope Town’s American community and top students from the Royal Bahamas Defense Force’s competitive Ranger program. The Ambassador also had the opportunity to meet Anna Albury, who was recently awarded the 2011 Primary School Student of Year. Before her remarks to 50 primary student assembled for the safe boating presentation, Ambassador Avant applauded Anna for her achievement and encouraged her to reach for her dreams. She also praised Hope Town’s supportive community environment and the primary school’s entire student body for fully embracing Anna’s unique abilities and gifts.