NASBLA News (May-June 15)


Dillon heads up new division in NASBLA

Pamela Dillon, who has been serving as NASBLA’s education director since November 2011, has been named director of the association’s new Education and Standards Division.

Over the last four years, Pam has been the driving force behind the development of NASBLA’s education program and all the allied initiatives that have grown from it over the last few years – the ANSI-recognized  national education standards, the new conformity assessment processes for NASBLA course approval, the national Spring Aboard campaign, the Certified Recreational Boating Professional program, and dozens of other significant, smaller initiatives from the education and outreach committee.

“We have an ambitious agenda in the program areas under this new division, and I have no doubt Pam will meet and exceed our expectations as we work to more fully articulate NASBLA’s national role in standards development and conformity assessment, as well as providing broader and deeper professional development opportunities for our members and the recreational boating community,” said NASBLA CEO and Executive Chief John Johnson. 

“Pam will also help us formulate policy, facilitate development, oversee implementation, and identify research gaps in NASBLA’s knowledge management portfolio, as well as work to collaborate with partners to bridge the knowledge/skill gap in education standards,” he added.

BOAT Program recognized as a Top 25 Innovation in Government

ash centerThe Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized NASBLA’s Boat Operations and Training Program as a Top 25 program in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition. These Top 25 government initiatives represent the dedicated efforts of city, state and federal governments, and address such policy issues as economic development, environmental and community revitalization, public health, equal access to education, emergency preparedness and health care.

The Boat Operations and Training Program, established in 2010, trains local, county, tribal and state maritime responders in skills the U.S. Coast Guard can quantify and catalog, so when a major catastrophe emerges, marine agents at all levels will react in a coordinated, practiced manner, using the same tactics, procedures and language.

BOAT courses to be included in NTED course catalog


Three more of the courses developed by NASBLA’s Boat Operations and Training Program have been approved for inclusion in FEMA’s National Training and Education Division’s (NTED) State/Federally Sponsored Course Catalog:

  • Boat Crew Member course
  • Boat Operator for Search and Rescue course
  • Pursuit and Stop course

The Tactical Operators Course was approved for inclusion in the catalog last September.

For each course, a review was conducted of the course materials based on the completed template, the completeness of the materials submitted, and the content, to determine that the course meets the required NTED standards.

The reviewer commented that the Boat Crew Member course “will lay a foundation for professional boating handling skills. It will provide a new crew member with a basic understanding of what will be expected of him/her in a structured and reasonably safe manner.”

The reviewer for Boat Operator for the Search and Rescue course commended the course writers for having “done their homework,” stating that “This is a well put together course…all components provided are very well done.”

The Pursuit and Stop course was praised for providing standardization: “Standardization of maritime law enforcement pursuit and stop techniques will assist the maritime enforcement operators in interoperability when working with various state and federal maritime agencies.”

Indiana agency implements aggressive training program

In mid-April NASBLA BOAT Program Director Mark DuPont met with instructors who are beginning to launch BOAT Program courses (Boat Crew Member, Boat Operator for Search and Rescue, Tactical Operator, BUI, and Pursuit and Stop) for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

After a request from Lt. Kenton Turner, boating law administrator for Indiana, to attend the meeting and provide guidance to the team, DuPont arranged to visit Indianapolis and sit down with the team to go over their plan for credentialing the instructors in accordance with the NASBLA Instructor Credential Program, and how Indiana DNR will be ready by the fall to train all their new recruits.

“They have a pretty aggressive plan and it’s exciting to help the agency implement a plan that quickly impacts their organization and the waterways they patrol. They will be able to tell a great story about accreditation implementation and its impact in Indiana at our annual conference this fall,” said DuPont.

National BOAT Program Director recently met with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Team. Shown front row (l-r): Jon Boyd, Grahm Selm, Shawn Brown, Brandon Shoults; back row (l-r): Joe Tenbarge, Matt Pearcy, Nick Vander Molen, Kenton Turner, Guy Wendorf.

ProCert to be highlighted by The Institute of Credentialing Excellence

ICENASBLA’s new ProCert Program has been selected to be highlighted by The Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE). The program was one of the 127 ICE member organizations that were being considered for this acknowledgement. “This recognition is based on the manner in which we have gone about developing our Certification/Credentialing Program as well as following defined development and implementation practices,” said John Malatak, manager for NASBLA’s Recreational Boating Professional Certification program. 

Operation Dry Water launches new website


The Operation Dry Water campaign has a new website. Please take a moment to check it out and familiarize yourself with the new design.

All of the helpful resources that were available last year are still offered on the new website.

Participating law enforcement agencies can find campaign resources under the “Enforcement” section of the website. These resources include information on registration, the seated battery of standardized field sobriety testing, training, and campaign resources, including press releases, flyers, posters and more.

Many additional resources are available to boaters, media, news outlets and boating safety educators under the “Boaters” and “Resources” sections of the website.

Boating law administrators selected for national advisory panel

NASBLA is proud to announce that four state representatives have been selected to serve on the National Boating Safety Advisory Council. The council was established by the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 to advise the U.S. Coast Guard on matters related to recreational boating safety. Members for 2015 include:

The Department of Homeland Security made seven appointments to NBSAC this year:

Representatives of officials responsible for state boating safety programs
Scott Brewen, Oregon State Marine Patrol
Matt Walz, Missouri Highway Patrol
Richard Moore, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Toby Velasquez, New Mexico State Parks Division  

Representatives of national recreational boating organizations
Rachel Johnson, National Safe Boating Council

Representatives of manufacturers of boats and associated equipment
Phil Dyskow, Yamaha Motor Corp.
Jim Emmons, Water Sports Industry Association

NASBLA joins ABA to brief Members of Congress

Members of the Angling & Boating Alliance (ABA) participated in two policy briefings to Members and staff of the Congressional Boating Caucus of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on April 22. The briefing covered the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, including a brief history of the Fund and its importance to the angling and boating community.

NASBLA Government Affairs Director Charlie Sledd and NMMA Legislative Counsel Jeff Gabriel walked participants through the Fund’s life cycle, including the Fund’s composition; an understanding of how the funds are distributed to the states by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Coast Guard; and the types of boating safety and infrastructure that are funded. Nearly 20 staffers and one Member of Congress participated in the briefing, asking good public policy questions and indicating strong support for the continued viability of the Fund. The Trust Fund must be reauthorized by Congress as part of the highway bill. ABA members are actively working with House and Senate staff to ensure the Fund is part of any highway bill considered by Congress this year.

NASBLA co-hosts American Boating Congress


This year, NASBLA joined a broad group of co-hosts to support the American Boating Congress. This year, driven by 2014’s success, numerous industry partners agreed to co-host ABC to strengthen the industry’s collective advocacy impact. Held May 11-13, 2015, the ABC featured an engaging lineup of event speakers, including an influential group of policy specialists and industry authorities, as well as legislative and regulatory officials. NASBLA Deputy Executive Director John Fetterman attended the conference.

NASBLA Director participates in Marina Pro Program

marina proNASBLA Education and Standards Director Pamela Dillon assisted with a Marina Pro instructor-training course in Norfolk, Virginia. The Marina Pro Training Course, developed by the National Safe Boating Council, in partnership with the Association of Marina Industries, combines the Close-Quarters and Open Water curriculums into a multiple day on-water training. The target audience for this course is the marina and boatyard professional who will become trained and certified as a “Marina Pro.”

Each Marina Pro candidate is assessed in their boat operation skills. They are taught a step-by-step method of teaching, coaching and modeling skills that will be used to teach the boating public. Candidates are also tested in their knowledge of steering and sailing rules, navigation aids, risk management and technical boating knowledge.

The course was hosted by the Southern Bay Cru’z Club and graduated 8 instructors from boat clubs from around the Norfolk area. Marine Concepts, Inc. provided the boats for the course and the Vinings Marina also provided support during the training. For additional information on the NSBC training, visit

WSBAA’s 54th Annual Conference held in Bend, Oregon

bend ore

The Western States Boating Administrators Association held its 54th annual conference in Bend, Oregon – the jewel of Oregon’s high desert – May 10-13, 2015.  

The action-packed agenda highlighted the newest in state boating program activities, hot topics for boating law administrators, and Oregon’s innovative boating program. 

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