Award Winners Recognized at the 2019 NASBLA Annual Conference
The 60th Annual NASBLA Conference was held in Anchorage, Alaska from Sept. 29 - Oct. 2. During the awards ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 1, NASBLA presented their annual 19 national awards, recognizing NASBLA members and colleagues in the recreational boating safety community for their outstanding contributions.
At the end of his/her term, the NASBLA President selects individuals to honor with special recognition for their contributions during the past year to boating safety and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. This year, NASBLA President, Mark Brown, presented three individuals with this prestigious award.
- Col. Glenn Moates with the Boating and Law Enforcement Division of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Lt. Col. Moates joined the Engineering, Reporting and Analysis Committee (ERAC) committee in 2012. Thanks to his leadership early on, Lt. Col. Moates was named the committee’s Vice Chair in 2014, and in 2016 stepped into the Chairmanship role where he would go on to become the second longest serving chair in the committee’s history. Lt. Col. Moates’ commitment to ERAC and national consensus-building has been consistent and unmatched.
- Over the course of the last decade, NASBLA has worked diligently to strengthen its governance and management capabilities to become more effective and more efficient stewards of the Association’s resources. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the organization’s financial management, accounting and regulatory compliance programs overseen and undertaken by Tom Hayward, NASBLA Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Marlene Mason, NASBLA Accountant. NASBLA presented these President’s Awards to Tom and Marlene as a token of deep appreciation and gratitude for their exemplary service to the Association and the Executive Board for their hard work, commitment and dedication to maintaining the highest levels of professionalism, compliance and integrity in NASBLA’s financial management, reporting and auditing programs.
Lifetime Achievement Award
NASBLA first began presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. This award is designed for a person who has contributed to boating safety over his or her lifetime.
- Commodore Everette L. Tucker, Jr., in his position as Boating Safety Education Coordinator, has helped to guide the implementation of the Mandatory Boating Safety Education Requirement. He has personally taught more than 1,250 students and oversees the activities of over 280 state-certified boating safety instructors.
- Pauline Longnecker was posthumously recognized and remembered with the NASBLA Lifetime Achievement Award. As an Auxiliarist, Pauline developed a professional and vital partnership with NASBLA and the recreational boating safety community. Her passion for boating safety encompassed every part of her life and Auxiliary career. Pauline joined the Auxiliary in 1988 and received 64 awards from the Coast Guard Auxiliary during her time as a member. Her dedication to her work and her motivation to broaden her knowledge allowed her to be a great mentor to others throughout her career. Pauline was the State Liaison officer for Iowa and worked closely with Boating Law Administrators to deliver classroom education courses, Governor-supported State Proclamations during National Safe Boating Week and boating safety messages delivered to Iowa State Parks. Pauline passed away on March 9, 2019.
- Jeffrey S. Johnson, named by the Governor as Alaska’s first official Boating Law Administrator in 1998, quickly made a difference in boating safety both locally and nationally. As Alaska’s first official Boating Law Administrator, Jeff worked to draft the Alaska Boating Safety Act and to garner public and legislative support. When the Act was signed into law in May, 2000, Alaska became the last state in the nation to establish a boating safety program.
Regional Educator of the Year
Generously sponsored by Fresh Air Educators, and Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., the Boating Educator of the Year Award was launched by NASBLA in 2011 to recognize those who go above to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.
- Thomas and Elizabeth Scott, of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, were selected as the Northern Region Educators of the Year. Thomas and Elizabeth Scott began their journey as safe boating instructors in 2002, so that they could help their Boy Scout troop obtain a powerboating merit badge. For the last 17 years, they have worked as a team conducting Connecticut’s DEEP safe boating courses and public outreach. Together, they have provided over 300 hours of knowledgeable safe boating instruction to Connecticut boaters, as well as countless volunteer hours at volunteer events.
- Dana Gage, of The LV Project, was presented with the Southern Region Educator of the Year award. In the aftermath of her son’s preventable and tragic death by drowning, Dana Gage made it her mission to change the way people think about water safety. Gage, using her professional media experience, founded The LV Project. Gage’s creative mind coupled with her unwavering passion for the cause and her heart for educating, informing and saving the lives of all people who spend their time around water is second to none. Words cannot describe what Dana Gage has done for the Texas community and water safety as a whole.
- Jesse Gehrt, of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, was recognized as the Western Region Educator of the Year. For several years, Gehrt’s assigned duty area included Milford Reservoir. This reservoir, which is bordered by Fort Riley, recorded the highest annual number of boating incidents in the state and between one and three fatalities per year. Lt. Gehrt focused on addressing this situation through partnerships with the Fort Riley marina staff. With the help of his state Boating Law Administrator and Boating Education Coordinator, Lt. Gehrt successfully developed boating safety programs throughout his district. Gehrt’s diligence and focus on this matter has reduced the reservoir’s fatality rate from one to three per year, to a total of three over the last 12 years. Lt. Gehrt’s focus, drive and experience in educating the boating public makes him a valuable asset to Kansas and the recreational boating community.
National Educator of the Year
NASBLA presented its prestigious national Boating Educator of the Year award to Lt. Jesse Gehrt. NASBLA congratulates Lt. Jesse Gehrt on receiving the National Boating Educator of the Year award in recognition of his exceptional career and impact on recreational boating safety.
Going forward, the Executive Board has decided that the NASBLA Boating Educator of the Year Award will henceforth be known as the Pamela S. Dillon Boating Educator of the Year Award. Pam has served as the Education & Standards Director for NASBLA since October 2011 where she has led our educational efforts with monumental results. However, her eight years with NASBLA as staff are just the tip of what she has done over a lifetime of vocation and service in the recreational boating community.
Regional Officer of the Year
First presented in 2000, the Marvin “Butch” Potts Memorial Award, known as the Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, is presented annually to the boating law enforcement officer who has made outstanding contributions to the field of boating law enforcement.
- Conservation Warden Paul Sickman, of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, was given the Northern Region Officer of the Year Conservation Warden Sickman is an example of a well-rounded officer who effectively balances enforcement, education and community involvement. Sickman does an outstanding job assisting and partnering with local law enforcement agencies in the surrounding areas. For this reason, Sickman and the Wisconsin DNR receive great cooperation and assistance from the law enforcement agencies in their area.
- Corporal Lyndle Crownover, of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, was recognized as the Southern Region Officer of the Year. Crownover has been in law enforcement for 27 years, spending 14 of these years as a Wildlife Officer. Since he began working for Arkansas Game and Fish, Cpl. Crownover has arrested 128 suspects for BUI, averaging just over 9 BUIs per year. Crownover’s dedication to boating safety enforcement is unmatched. He puts in the extra effort to ensure all boaters can safely enjoy the waters of Arkansas.
- Corporal Daren Krag, of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, was presented with the Western Region Officer of the Year Cpl. Krag continues to go above and beyond to ensure Oregon’s waterways are safe, leaving a permanent footprint behind and setting an example of why law enforcement is essential to the safety of boaters on the water. Under Cpl. Krag’s leadership, his team has conducted over 72 hours of classroom instruction in local schools and safety fairs reaching over 1,700 individual students. It comes with no denial, Cpl. Krag’s valor, pride and ability to remain consistent in enforcing the law, while respecting the boater, is truly a gift. Cpl. Krag is held with the upmost respect among the Oregon marine law enforcement community and Oregon is lucky to have him as one of their top marine deputies.
National Officer of the Year
NASBLA presented its esteemed national Boating Officer of the Year award to Corporal Daren Krag. NASBLA congratulates Corporal Daren Krag on receiving the National Boating Officer of the Year award in recognition of his dedication, commitment and impact on recreational boating safety.
Operation Dry Water Awards
The Operation Dry Water (ODW) Awards Program recognizes law enforcement officers and agencies that are making a positive impact on boating under the influence (BUI). During the ceremony, the ODW Officer of the Year, Top Agencies and Media Award winners were honored for their hard work and dedication to boating under the influence prevention and the Operation Dry Water campaign. Click here to read more about the 2019 ODW award winners.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
We offer a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards, publications and more. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, we affect the lives of over 76 million American boaters.