SAILING enthusiast Phil Samways has been hailed a Maritime Hero in a nationwide awards scheme.

Phil was nominated by Weymouth Sailing Club for his outstanding service and is one of thirty national semi-finalists in the The Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Awards.

Now in its second year, the annual awards scheme was initiated by the whisky firm to reward the outstanding passion, commitment and achievements demonstrated within Britain's maritime communities, at both a local and national level.

To begin this year's search for its Maritime Heroes, Old Pulteney contacted UK sailing clubs asking them to nominate any members they felt deserved recognition within one of the following three categories: Club Service, Bravery or Sailing Achievement.

Phil has led Weymouth Sailing Club's youth wing for nine years and during that time has transformed the organisation into a thriving, well-equipped addition to the club, which introduces youngsters to sailing in a safe, structured and enjoyable way.

Due to his incredible powers of persuasion and the support of his entire family, he has raised over £13,000 through fundraising activities such as raffles, bingo and phone recycling, and has secured donations of over £24,000 worth of equipment from supportive companies.

He dedicates much of his time to weekly sailing tuition, events on the water plus a programme of winter visits, and also oversees a programme with Weymouth and Portland Borough Housing Association to provide free sailing for disadvantaged children.

As a result of his efforts, a vibrant youth sailing community has developed within the club and many of its members have gained the confidence and ability to compete in regional and national events.

To reward this enthusiasm and dedication shown by Phil, Old Pulteney has presented him with a Maritime Heroes Awards certificate and bottle of its award-winning 12 Year Old Single Malt.

Phil will now be one of the thirty shortlisted sailing stars going through to the competition finals in December. If successful he will win £2,000, a commemorative trophy and a bottle of what has been dubbed the World's Best Whisky - Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt.

Margaret Mary Clarke, Senior Brand Manager- ''Old Pulteney is delighted to name Phil as one of our thirty finalists and we wish him the best of luck for the next stage of the competition.

The awards scheme is a great platform for recognising the many unsung heroes across Britain's maritime communities and we are looking forward to crowning our 2013 winner.”