Pamela Dillon, NASBLA, retires after more than 40 years in recreational boating safety


ThePamDillon.jpg National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) would like to recognize Pamela S. Dillon for the hard work, dedication and service she has given to NASBLA, the States and the recreational boating safety community as whole as we also announce her formal retirement as of Dec. 31, 2019.

Dillon has served as the Education and Standards Director for NASBLA since October 2011, in this position she led NASBLA’s education efforts with monumental results. With all she accomplished in her time with NASBLA, it is just the tip of the iceberg in what she has accomplished over a lifetime of vocation and service in the recreational boating community.

“Hiring Pam Dillon as NASBLA’s Education Director was one of the easiest decisions I ever made,” said John Johnson, NASBLA Chief Executive Officer. “By the time she took over the position, she was already one of the most accomplished and influential professionals to have ever served the recreational boating community.

“Her broad and compelling background, together with her strong work ethic and passion for boaters and boater education, combined with a deep understanding of the environment in which our state agencies operate, made Pam the ideal person to lead our national education initiatives. Her personal commitment to the National Education Standards and to improving the capabilities of state education specialists, as well as her dedication to universal, state-to-state reciprocity, has led to significant and sustained advances in all aspects of boater education. Not only will Pam’s accomplishments survive her tenure as Education and Standards Director, but her forethought in planning, design and execution of key education support systems will also leave a legacy of leadership well into the future. While we will miss Pam’s direct oversight in many key roles, and hope for her continued counsel in others, we are grateful and appreciative for all she has done and all that she has taught us!”

Prior to joining NASBLA, Dillon retired in 2011 as Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft.  Through her 30-year career with the Division, she was instrumental in advancing Ohio’s education and public safety program to a level recognized as a national leader. Rising through the officer ranks, she held positions overseeing the state’s marine patrol and river rescue programs, public information and education programs, and statewide field operations.  Appointed Chief in 2007, she served as the State Boating Law Administrator under two Ohio governors.

During a five-year break in service from the state of Ohio, Dillon served as Executive Director of American Canoe Association (2002-2007), working to develop strategic alliances with boating, outdoor recreation, and paddlesport education and conservation programs across the U.S. and Canada. 

Dillon served two terms as a public member of the National Boating Safety Advisory Council to the United States Coast Guard (2005-2011), participating as an Objective Leader for development of the Strategic Plan of the National Recreational Boating Safety Program. Dillon's additional national level service includes Founding Member of the Board of Governors for the International Whitewater Hall of Fame and past Chair of the National Safe Boating Council.

Dillon was recognized in September 2019 at the 60th annual NASBLA Conference in Anchorage, Alaska with the announcement that the annual NASBLA Boating Educator of the Year Award would be renamed the “Pamela S. Dillon Boating Educator of the Year Award.”

Dillon is the recipient of numerous national, regional, and state awards including the National Safe Boating Council’s Hall of Fame, NASBLA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, U.S.Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award, U.S. Coast Guard Public Service awards (three), the United Safe Boating Institute’s Silver Schooner Award, American Canoe Association’s Outstanding Instructor, President, and Commodore Awards; the Michael Freeman Conservation Award from the United States Canoe Association, National Water Safety Congress’s National Award and the International Boating & Water Safety Summit’s Excellence in Boating Safety Award.