The History of the Foundation

reprinted with permission from CNG Papers, publisher

30 yearsIn 1984, on a sunny and clear day in June, Gus Savaros stood on his boat and looked out at the pristine expanse of water of Rockaway. In the distance, he could see and hear the voices and laughter of other boaters and fishermen. He turned and waved. They waved back.

The warm afternoon breeze seemed to flutter his thoughts which flew through his mind like noisy seagulls – one-after-another — interrupting the tranquil feeling he usually felt when he was out on the water and close to nature. Gus was upset that the free search and rescue service, which had previously been provided to the fishing and boating community by the Coast Guard, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary (of which he was an Auxiliary Division Captain and district-board staff officer) was floundering and about to sink.

The Coast Guard had sought commercial assistance and all those connected with the Coast Guard (even on a volunteer basis) had to stand-by silently as the free service sunk beneath the waters of politics, economics and new ideas.

“It got my Yankee Doodle Dandy up,” Gus now says when he recalls how The Foundation for Safe Boating and Marine Information Inc., was born.

“I saw there was a need for a free and independent organization which would meet the needs of the fishing and boating community and protect the marine environment”.

“Standing on my boat that day in 1984, I wondered who in the boating and fishing community would get such an organization moving. I thought, ‘How about you’?”

Gus knew this was the right decision and something he had to do. He became the founder of “The Foundation for Safe Boating and Marine Information” (which later was incorporated in 1988, under Section 402 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law). He wrote a check, and within weeks the immediate needs were met.

Gus Savaros continued to fund all operations and programs of The Foundation until December 31, 1991. But with the new year, and the many programs, which had been implemented, The Foundation’s financial needs exceeded his personal financial ability and it became necessary to seek additional funding.

He realized that many other people would also have to get involved in order to do the work that needed to be done. Acting on behalf of The Foundation, he applied for, and was granted, an Exemption Status by the IRS pursuant to 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. On July 31, 1996, The Foundation received its second and final verification on this date of its tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service and The Foundation for Safe Boating and Marine Information became IRS approved for Tax Deductible Donations on a national level! This was indeed, good news.

“I am happy to say many others did join-in and came on-board. They helped to pilot The Foundation’s boat, and we now have the ability to offer many more new programs.” Those of you who have gotten involved, or who are making the decision today to become involved, have a concern for the environment. You believe, as I do, that the Earth and the Seas are not ours to do with as we please. We are the guardians of the Earth and all its streams and waterways. People, young and old, have a right to swim in the water without being endangered by a mouthful of something that could cause harm or even kill,” Mr. Savaros said.

Today, boat, car and truck and various types of donations are The Foundation’s main source of income. However, from time to time, we receive a variety of other types of donations (real estate and items of personal or commercial value and estate liquidations).

“The Foundation is a 100 percent volunteer organization, only our CPA firm is paid,” said Mr. Savaros. “Every dollar we collect goes towards our programs.” “The Foundation’s earliest efforts involved safety, education and pollution-control.” One of the initial projects with which The Foundation was instrumental was the prevention of dropping Dioxin (Agent Orange) in U.S. waters. This effort led to the creation of The Foundation’s “Water Watch Program” (WW) which now deals with the harvesting of contaminated fish and crustaceans destined for human consumption and marine pollution violations. Water Watch volunteers have been successful helping to apprehend many violators.