About Captain Lew

Captain Lew Donovan

US Coast Guard Licensed & Certified

Captain Lew Donovan is a highly experienced boater and captain with more than 50 years of experience on the water. He holds a United States Coast Guard Master Captain’s License and, has developed an impressive and intimate knowledge of the ocean and coastal waters from New Jersey to Chesapeake Bay and the Florida Keys.

In 1998 Captain Donovan started teaching boating safety and, three years later, opened the Safety First Boating School in 2001. Since then, Safety First has become South Jersey’s largest private boating school, helping more than 15,000 students earn their New Jersey Boating Safety Certificates.

There is no substitute for time on the water. And Captain Donovan has plenty of it. His love of boating began at the early age of five with his parents, both of whom were deaf. This initial exposure and unique scenario reinforced important lessons in responsibility and boating safety early on.

Captain Donovan has spent most of his life exploring, fishing, and waterskiing the waters of New Jersey. He has had the opportunity to pilot numerous types and sizes of vessels up to 60 feet in length and today averages 175 days on the water each year.

Captain Donovan’s in-depth knowledge of local New Jersey waters and boating techniques translates directly to the classroom. Students are treated to training that not only meets the State of New Jersey Division of State Police Marine Law Enforcement requirements for powerboat safety education, but also provides real word examples and real life scenarios that keep the material interesting, fun, relevant—and reinforce the importance of Safety First.