Diversity is not something that is often associated with boating and the boating industry. Many people have a stereotypical boater in mind, and I’m guessing as you read this you do too. One of the biggest obstacles to expanding the reach of boating is that so often, the way someone gets into boating in the first place is being exposed by family or close friends. If no one in your orbit is boating, you are much less likely to try it and pass it on to others.
However, there are many people doing great work in bringing recreational boating, and the boating industry as a career, to new audiences. Willard Franklin, along with his wife, son and daughter, are working hard to help make boating and fishing more diverse, inclusive, and safe. As members of the Four W's Fishing Team, they work to build communities that support water health, fish, safety, and the joy of boating and fishing. The Four W's Fishing Team promotes the outdoors to elementary, middle school, high school, & college students preparing them for careers in the outdoors. You may also find them educating new and potential boaters at churches, car and boat shows, fairs, and even as a friendly face at the boat ramp! Willard and I discussed how fishing has been passed down from generation to generation in his family, how the Four Ws came about, some great boat safety tips, and much more (including of course who the best angler in the family is). Enjoy!