Western Region Boating Educators of the Year


Dean and Nanci Terencio

Dean and Nanci Terencio, a husband and wife team of boating educators, have long contributed to the field of boating safety education as members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and as volunteer instructors for the state of Alaska.

Dean and Nanci Terencio are a tremendous team when it comes to boating safety education. They team teach in a way that is lively, entertaining and effective. Students benefit by their respective strengths in the material presented. They feed off of each other in presentations to provide a most effective transfer of information. One never knows how much is rehearsed in their banter. Either one of the pair could cover the information, but as a pair they make the topics easier to understand and remember. Best of all, they make it fun for the participants in the audience.

Dean and Nanci have made many connections in Alaska over the years. Often they taught the Boating Skills and Seamanship course at the Highland Tech High School in Anchorage. Dean and Nanci have taught or had a hand in most of the USCG Auxiliary courses conducted in Alaska over the past 15 years. In addition, Dean and Nanci are both instructors of Alaska Water Wise, the state’s NASBLA-approved course. For many years both held high level leadership positions in the Auxiliary in Public Education and Member Training. The pair is in large part responsible for the training of other Auxiliary members now giving public boating classes.

In the mid 1990s Dean and Nanci began traveling statewide to support BERT, the Boating Education Response Team. The Terencios are huge advocates of rural education, firmly believing that boating education can help to save the lives of Native Alaskans. As members of BERT, the pair traveled to Stevens Village, Tanana, Galena, Nulatto, Kaltag, Koyukuk, Ruby, and Rampart by jet boat on the Yukon River with the Coastie robotic boat to share the boating safety message.

As volunteers for the state, the dynamic boating safety duo has taught over 250 school children either in the classroom or in the pool. They have also helped certify over 150 students in the state’s NASBLA-approved course.

Melissa Miranda

Melissa Miranda has spent her professional career with the State of California, first with the Department of Boating and Waterways and continuing on with California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. She has served as the boating education coordinator for the past six years. Prior to state service, Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from California State University at Sacramento.

Melissa is a devoted outreach and education advocate. Each year she attends 25-30 events, sacrificing weekends and evenings to meet with recreational boaters and share the life jacket message. Her efforts reach thousands of boaters of all ages in California. When she interacts with the public, it’s evident that she is passionate about her work and cares about boaters’ lives. When people start complaining about why wearing a life jacket is a hassle, Melissa has been known to respond: “You know what else is a hassle? Dying.” It’s a funny way to get people to realize that boating can be deadly and the simple act of wearing a life jacket can make a difference.

The boaters that Melissa tries her hardest to reach are children. She understands that influencing children’s behavior early will result in lifelong habits. Melissa works diligently to ensure that California’s educators have access to DBW’s AquaSmart program materials. She oversees the annual Safe and Wise Waterways Poster Contest and is vital to the success of this program that reaches thousands of children each year. But most importantly, Melissa interacts with kids face-to-face, engaging them and getting them excited about safety.

Two of the DBW’s programs that have grown tremendously under Melissa’s leadership are the life jacket loaner station program and the life jacket trade-in events. Originally, the life-jacket loaner stations were mainly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta area with slightly more than a handful of locations. Today there are over 70 stations, including some in California State Parks, which never had them before. The life jacket trade-in event started with approximately 10 locations and now has on average 75-100 events throughout the state each year. Melissa lives the Wear It California! Motto. It’s no wonder her colleagues affectionately refer to Melissa as the “crazy life jacket lady.” She truly is crazy to be able to handle the magnitude of these programs.

All in all, Melissa is the perfect person to hold the position of boating education coordinator. She is passionate, dedicated, and concerned about boating safety and saving the lives of California’s recreational boaters.

Tyler Sewald

In 2003, Tyler Sewald started his career with Colorado State Parks as a seasonal ranger at Chatfield State Park. He was that rare seasonal ranger that excelled at water-based recreation. As a certified life guard he was initially assigned as a swim beach ranger. He was quickly promoted to boat ranger and on to a temporary parks officer.

In 2008, Tyler was hired as a Colorado State Park Officer and assigned to Jackson Lake State Park where has been serving ever since. During his service, Tyler has gone beyond the call of duty in his role as a boating educator.

Officer Sewald is thorough in his approach to boating safety. His use of buoys, signs, brochures, and classes and workshops sets him apart from other waterway managers. Tyler draws upon numerous law enforcement certifications such as boating under the influence seated battery SFST instructor, emergency medical technician, firearms instruction, radar instruction, and DUI detection to keep boat ramps and staging areas safe. Regionally he has instructed at the Basic Marine Officer’s Training (operations and scenarios). Annually he attends Colorado Parks and Wildlife Instructor Training Development workshop. Tyler’s work ethic and professionalism are apparent in this pursuit of excellence through attending training, learning and refining skills.

Where Tyler truly stands out from the crowd is his eagerness to share his knowledge and skills. He actively seeks opportunities to teach private boaters, waterway managers, emergency service providers, and law enforcement. He shares his knowledge of boating safety practices and land management strategies to increase safety on the water and on the ramps and staging areas. His expertise and vast experience enable him to effectively convey information, plus he is able to draw from real-life experiences to create scenarios and discussion to support the boating safety curriculum.

Tyler has expanded his public education and skills workshops to include waterway managers, emergency service providers, and law enforcement at a regional and statewide level. As a testament to Tyler’s character and integrity, he volunteers his personal time at many events for the betterment of the boating safety education program.

Tyler is vested in the northeastern corner of Colorado. He lives, works, recreates, and hunts in the area. He is committed to ensuring the safety of boaters, park visitors, along with his family and friends through a proactive, thoughtful approach to boating education. The boating public, emergency services, and law enforcement officers are safer and better prepared because of Tyler Sewald’s continued dedication to boating safety education.

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