Flotilla wins website award

Published 8:13 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

Smithfield Flotilla 59 has the best website out of all flotillas in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.

The organization won the 2016 Best of the Web award from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary District 5 Southern during a recent awards banquet in Henrico County. The Smithfield auxiliary’s winning website is www.aux59.org.

“We’ve made numerous updates to our website recently to make it easier for the general public to learn about the auxiliary and the services we provide,” said immediate past commander Peter Faleski. “And we’ve made it easier for them to request those services directly from our website.”

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Updates that contributed to the flotilla’s award included the option to easily request a free vessel safety check directly from the site, and the addition of a searchable database where anyone interested in boating can find and sign up for local boater safety classes.

The website also includes a page for recruiting new members, which details the benefits of auxiliary membership and provides step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

“We’ve designed the website to be the main resource people go to right off the bat,” said Stephen Faleski, public affairs officer for the flotilla.

Commander Anderson Braswell believes the Smithfield flotilla’s extensive online multimedia efforts throughout 2015 also contributed to the win.

“Compared to other flotillas, we currently sit in the top 1 percent in the nation in terms of social media following, such as Facebook, and last year we released a promotional music video on our new YouTube channel that quickly garnered nearly 2,500 views,” Braswell said.

Smithfield has been progressive and forward in its use of digital technology, Braswell said.

The Smithfield Flotilla 59 is one of six uniformed Coast Guard auxiliaries in Hampton Roads. Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Norfolk also have auxiliaries in the district.