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As President of the Monica Burguera Foundation, Nicolas Estrella, Jr., is committed to raising public
consciousness about boating safety with the goal of decreasing accidents on the water.
T E X T BY SA N DY L I N D S E Y
N icolas Estrella, Jr.’s, dedication to boating safety through
education via the Monica Burguera Foundation is open
to all in the hopes of saving lives. “Boating accidents and
deaths are preventable,” he says. “As a father of 3 young boys in
Key Biscayne, I know it’s inevitable that they will be out on the
water soon enough and it terrifies me.”
The Foundation was created in memory of Monica Burguera,
the 20-year-old woman who died in a tragic boating accident
during the 2006 Columbus Day festivities in Miami that also
killed James Noel Pou and left many others seriously injured. In
partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 67 and
69, they presently provide free monthly boating safety classes
in English and Spanish at the Foundation’s office, the Key
Biscayne Community Center, Miami Children’s Hospital and other
convenient Miami-Dade locations. “Since 2010, more than 5,500
students have successfully completed the program,” he reports.
Though classes are open to boaters of all ages, one of the
foundation’s many notable achievements is that students are
getting younger. Back in 2010, the number of students under
17 was a mere 15. Since then, the Foundation has successfully
educated 658 youth to become responsible lifetime boaters.
52 The eldest of 3 children, Estrella is well-respected in the
community as the CEO of Estrella Insurance, Director of Star
Casualty Insurance Company, and sole shareholder of Estrella
Ticket Defense Law Firm P.A. He’s equally well known for his strong
philanthropic nature. “I’m inspired by the fact that Florida and
Miami-Dade County continue to be at the top of boating fatalities,”
he says. “Since Monica’s tragedy, there have been a number of
well-publicized boating accidents right in our backyard.”
As a non-for-profit organization, the Monica Burguera
Foundation depends on contributions from sponsors to help meet
its operational goals. As such, they depend heavily on community
involvement and outreach. All of the money raised throughout
the year benefits the important work being carried out by the
foundation, with the goal of raising awareness about how to stay
safe on the water and avoid tragic accidents.
No one can argue that boating is one of the most popular
recreational activities in The Sunshine State; it seems everyone either
owns a boat or knows someone who does. Nicolas Estrella, Jr., and
the Monica Burguera Foundation are spearheading the crusade to
make our time spent on our beautiful waters as secure as possible all
year round; MonicaBurgueraFoundation.org.