NASBLA recognizes Alex Otte for her commitment to ending Boating Under the Influence
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) recognized Alex Otte for her continued commitment to putting an end to boating under the influence and the incredible impact she has already made on the recreational boating community during the 2023 State Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Workshop held March 1 – 2 in Lexington, Kentucky.
NASBLA Past Chair Lieutenant Kenton Turner presented his Chair’s Award to Alex Otte in recognition of these efforts. At the end of his or her term, the NASBLA Chair selects individuals to honor with special recognition for their contributions during the past year to boating safety and NASBLA.
Last September, NASBLA and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), formalizing a partnership to reduce and prevent incidents related to boating under the influence. The partnership strengthened the impact of each organization through coordinated outreach, education, training, and support of law enforcement. This milestone was made possible by the persistent passion and dedication of Alex Otte who finished her term as MADD’s National President in December of 2022.
Otte found MADD in 2010 at just 13 years old, after she was severely injured by an intoxicated boat operator. While jet skiing on a Kentucky lake near her home, a drunk boat operator slammed into her at nearly 70 mph, causing a severe brain injury, broken neck and collarbone, shattered jaw, lacerated liver, two shattered femurs, and the loss of her right leg below the knee.
In addition to the years of volunteerism and work on successful Driving Under the Influence (DUI) legislation with MADD, in 2017, Otte’s path intersected with NASBLA when she spoke as the keynote speaker at the NASBLA Annual Conference. She began working with NASBLA as a spokesperson for the Operation Dry Water campaign.
In 2018, Otte continued her work with NASBLA on a U.S. Coast Guard nonprofit grant to conduct boating under the influence research. Otte was the lead writer and researcher on the “Boating Under the Influence Report,” published in 2019. This report presents a comprehensive collection of annotations for 51 international studies on alcohol, impairment, and their effects on the rates of fatalities and traumatic injuries within the recreational boating context.
Otte also worked with NASBLA to develop the “Boating Under the Influence Dashboard” which displays national data on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels, legalized cannabis, vehicle operation privileges, implied consent, preliminary breath test instrument use, and reason for stop. These dashboards are the most comprehensive resources available on alcohol and drug use related to recreational boating in the nation. This critical information is made available because of Otte’s work and dedication to this important topic.
Upon her graduation from the University of Kentucky, College of Journalism, Otte joined NASBLA staff. She continued in her passionate commitment to the Operation Dry Water campaign and other NASBLA projects and programs related to the prevention of impaired boating
Based on her work and devotion, the opportunity arose for Otte to serve as National President for MADD. This was a life-changing opportunity for Otte and her mission to prevent impaired operation. During her time as National President, Otte led and successfully launched MADD’s first nationwide campaign aimed at eliminating the tragedies caused by boating under the influence. The “Know Before You Boat, BUI=DUI” campaign promotes safe boating and educates about the dangers of operating a boat or watercraft while impaired. NASBLA was honored to reunite with Otte at the launch event for this campaign and to have Otte speak at the inaugural Operation Dry Water kick-off event this past July
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators congratulates Alex Otte on these accomplishments and thanks her for her unwavering dedication to ending impaired operation on the roadways and the waterways.