Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Eight Bells: Ed Huntsman

Capt. Ed Leaves Us A Legacy Of Safety

Reprinted from US Sailing

Ed Huntsman, 72, who devoted his personal and professional life to boating safety, died after battling stage 4 cancer for nearly seven years on May 1, 2024. He was a committed volunteer to US Sailing as a member of the Safety at Sea Committee and Chair of the Committee Structure Task Force along with being a licensed captain, certified instructor, and combat veteran (Vietnam War).

His First Family

Son of Arral B Huntsman and Ann McFarland Viles Huntsman, brother of John A Huntsman, married to Anna Huntsman, father of Steven C Huntsman, father-in-law of Ludmilla Huntsman. His grandchildren are Nicholas, Eugene and Vera Genevieve. Ed's mother Ann worked as an aircraft riveter in San Diego during WWII and his father Arral stood watch for the enemy along Point Loma and Zuniga.


He held division district and national level offices in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and taught boating safety for several southern states as well as national organizations. After retiring from the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Education Branch as an education branch program manager, Ed stepped into the role of USCG Recreational Boating Safety Specialist for the Eighth Coast Guard District's Headquarters Prevention staff.

National Safe Boating Council

During and after his career stints above, as a volunteer leader, he continued to use his passion for boating safety to drive change, serving on the executive board of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) and on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Law Enforcement and Education committees.

Recent Contributions

He was also part of the team that created the National On-Water Standards (NOWS) system, funded by the US Coast Guard, to create national standards for sailing, powerboating and paddling sports skills.

More recently, Ed spearheaded a task force to re-imagine US Sailing's committee structure and terms of reference. His task force delivered its final report to US Sailing's Board of Directors in March 2024.

A Born Leader

Ed was likely born to be a leader, but he also worked hard to continually educate and improve himself. He graduated from Arizona State University, acquired an MBA as well as certificates from ASU's Management and Leadership Institute and Certified Public Manager Program.

Having spent so much time in government service, Ed had developed a lack of patience with bureaucracy and became skilled at moving boulders being maintained by those afraid of change or forward movement-the perfect attribute for a volunteer leader. He also personified the essence of servant leadership, supporting staff, less senior volunteers and always deferred credit to "we" rather than "I".

Supporter Of NWSA

Ed also was an eager, active supporter and ally of his wife's passion, the National Women's Sailing Association, which is dedicated to improve access to and skills in sailing for all American women. He traveled and volunteered on its behalf for many years. When Debbie was president of NWSA, he was her chief mate.

He Will Be Missed

Ed and Deb owned a 42' sailboat (Bliss) together, berthed in San Diego, which they frequently visited from their home in Arizona. Ed's passion, "just do it" mentality, knowledge and boating skill will be very hard to replace. His level of dedication and loyalty to the mission, as well as to his friends and colleagues, impossible.

Note: Jim and I have considered Ed a good friend and mentor for nearly twenty years. He encouraged us when we started this publication and contributed many valuable boating-safety articles as our Boating Co-editor. I personally am having a hard time realizing that his last article for us was only two months ago; in fact, I was about to contact him re: doing a story for this June issue, but, sadly, that was not to be. Debbie, our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with you and also with your many friends and associates. We too shall miss him.


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