2015 Boating Officers of the Year


Corporal Jason Roberson

When it comes to ensuring the safety of Georgia’s boating public, Corporal Jason Roberson is top-notch. Working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Cpl. Roberson is assigned to one of the most visited lakes in the country, Lake Sidney Lanier. He is a professional that exhibits fair and unbiased enforcement, education where applicable, compassion when needed, and dedication always.GA_JasonRoberson

Jason excels at boating law enforcement. In 2014, Jason spent 339 hours conducting on-the-water enforcement. He has an uncanny ability to detect operators who are under the influence and his record shows it. In 2014 he made 25 BUI cases and assisted with several others, and for the last several years, he has led his region and the entire state in boating under the influence arrests. He spent 15 days in court from BUI arrests and holds a 100% conviction rate.

Jason made one arrest for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute (felony), two arrests for possession of marijuana (misdemeanor), one felony arrest for possession of methamphetamines with one assist, and four felony arrests for trafficking methamphetamine which resulted in the confiscation of twenty-eight grams of meth, numerous Xanax pills, $1,700, a truck, and a boat.

Due to his increasing number of drug-related arrests, he obtained consent to set up a joint detail with the Hall County MANS (Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad) Unit. He spent many hours setting up this detail and received praise from Hall County for his efforts. Over 20 officers were involved with the detail. Jason lined up donated undercover boats, as well as a houseboat (used for Command Center), from Port Royale Marina. During the detail, the following cases were made: three Boating Under the Influence, two possession of marijuana, one convicted felon with a firearm, and one arrest for an aggravated assault/armed robbery warrant.

Regional Boating Officers of the Year
Northern Region

Waterways Conservation Officer Michael E. Johnson

A waterways conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Michael E. Johnson graduated from the H.R. Stackhouse School of Fisheries Conservation and Watercraft Safety in 2011. He has been assigned to the Central Allegheny County district for the past year and a half. WCO Johnson has already developed an all-around excellent boating safety program in one of the busiest urban boating areas in the commonwealth, proving his dedication and true commitment to making the waterways safer.

PA_MichaelE.JohnsonWCO Johnson quickly established himself as a top performer in the region. During 2014, he logged 72 days of recreational boating law enforcement patrol, initiated 210 vessel boardings, and issued 507 warnings and 106 criminal summary citations. He excels in boat law enforcement and has impeccable BUI detection skills. This is evidenced by his seven BUI arrests and two BUI assists in 2014. Michael also investigated one boat accident in 2014 and received three letters of public commendation for performing his duties with dignity and professionalism. His professional and courteous demeanor enables him to interact with the boating public in a stern but fair way. Because of his outstanding performance, Michael was nominated for the 2014 BUI Top Gun Award and the 2014 NECLECA Officer of the Year Award.

WCO Johnson has developed a strong education and public outreach presence in his district. During 2014, he taught two boating safety courses and presented eight boating safety programs. He also regularly attended the Pittsburgh Safe Boating Council meetings. Strong working relationships with the Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh River Rescue and the U.S. Coast Guard have enabled WCO Johnson to ensure safe boating on the Three Rivers, especially during the many marine events in the Pittsburgh area. WCO Johnson takes an active approach in the planning and coordination of safety patrols with PFBC staff and other state, federal and local entities for these special events.

Western Region

Lieutenant Ben Keyes

For over 35 years Lieutenant Ben Keyes has dedicated himself to marine law enforcement and is an expert in both marine law enforcement training and boating safety education. He is the longest serving county marine deputy in the history of Idaho and his broad knowledgebase and excellent communication skills are ID_Ben-Keyes2second to none. Lt. Keyes was previously named the Idaho Marine Officer of the Year in 2006.   

Lt. Keyes has served as the supervisor of the Marine Patrol Program of the Canyon County Sheriff’s Department since 1981. The department’s patrol area includes Lake Lowell, one of the largest bodies of water in Southwestern Idaho, and nearly 100 miles of the Snake and Boise rivers. With the diversity of water under his jurisdiction, it is critical that Lt. Keyes and his staff are adept at both flat-water and moving water operations. Lt. Keyes coordinates and oversees this vital training for the county.

Lt. Keyes has been involved in all aspects of the marine law enforcement training program in Idaho, including course development and instruction. As one of only four POST-certified Master Instructors in marine law enforcement, Lt. Keyes is an irreplaceable asset for Idaho’s boating program. He teaches five POST-certified marine training courses and has been instrumental in the development and expansion of all five. 

Lt. Keyes was involved in the development and implementation of “Boat Idaho,” a NASBLA-approved safe boating course taught to the public. He has personally trained over 1,000 students during his career. He has also devoted thousands of hours promoting safe boating and water safety to youths at public outreach events. A few years ago he partnered with a newly established entity, Kids First Cast, to promote boating, fishing and outdoor recreation to local youths. Using a PWC simulator, Lt. Keyes helps kids of all ages get exposed to boating for the first time.

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