Coastie devotes thousands of volunteer hours teaching water safety

Dan McIntyre has been named Boating magazine's Educator of the Year.

What do you do after 42 years in the Coast Guard Reserve, including eight in active duty, plus 32 years in field service management with Xerox? 

If you are Dan McIntyre, you embark on an energetic mission to teach boating safety.

Boating magazine’s Educator of the Year, McIntyre has undoubtedly saved many lives by teaching kids how to remain safe in the water. The Atlanta native, and Viera resident since 2005, joined the Central Brevard Flotilla of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2008.

"The Auxiliary is the uniform civilian branch of the U.S. Coast Guard," McIntyre said.

Educating the public on recreational boating safety is an important part of the Auxiliary.

"We do this through formal training classes, distribution of safety materials and assisting the active duty Coast Guard with safety patrols, especially during boat races," McIntyre said.

Appalled by the increasing number of childhood drowning fatalities in Florida each year, McIntyre opted to be part of the solution, researching the issue before adapting a syllabus shared by Auxiliary Flotilla 14-1. To help develop more responsible boating adults, McIntyre decided to instill basic water safety concepts in  9 year olds. In 2015, he partnered with Brevard Public Schools for "Boat ‘n Kids," a program for third graders. 

Between the program’s launch in 2015 and 2018, McIntyre devoted more than 2,300 volunteer hours delivering the water safety message to classes at 31 Brevard County schools, resulting in approximately 2,000 young "graduates."

"The focus is on swimming safety, boating safety and protecting the marine environment by stopping pollution," he said.

The classes have been so successful that the Coast Guard Auxiliary District 7 named it a primary initiative. McIntyre has also outdone his own efforts as he plans for another set of classes, this one more complex and taught by two or more instructors. He has also embarked on plans to export the class beyond the Space Coast into other sections of District 7, which includes the rest of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Children are not the only beneficiaries of McIntyre’s teaching. He also delivers a full schedule of "About Boating Safely" classes for adults and youths. These classes have been instrumental in reducing boating accidents and are required for younger boaters.