Boating Educator of the Year

Nominating boating educator of the year

Educators and volunteers from state and local agencies and from nonprofit organizations are eligible. Boating law administrators should nominate candidates who have made an outstanding contribution to boating safety through education. A nominee should be someone in the education field who goes above and beyond to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education and education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting. Posthumous nominations are not eligible.

Three regional finalists will be chosen from among the state nominees and will win a paid trip to the NASBLA Annual Conference where the national winner will be announced and recognized during the Awards Ceremony.

Nominations for this award must be submitted by a boating law administrator.
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National boating educator selected

NASBLA, Fresh Air Educators, and Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., are pleased to announce the national and regional winners of the Boating Educator of the Year Award. This award symbolizes the highest level of achievement among boating safety educators in the U.S.

National Winner 2018

lizlodman.jpgDuring its 59th annual meeting, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sept. 9 -12, 2018, NASBLA presented its prestigious national Boating Educator of the Year award to Liz Lodman with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. NASBLA congratulates Liz Lodman on receiving the National Boating Educator of the Year award in recognition of her exceptional career and impact on recreational boating safety.

Northern Region


John Steinbarge, New York

The Northern Region award recipient is John Steinbarge of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in the State of New York. John began his volunteer boating safety educator career at age 63 and continues as strong and committed and inspirational as ever at age 80. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2001 and received their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. John’s passion is evident through the time he spends teaching, mentoring, networking, actively patrolling, and thinking of new and innovative ideas to teach boating safety. His dedication can be seen through the number of safety events in which he participates and/or organizes to foster engagement in boating safety for the recreational boating public. John became a New York Safe Boating Instructor with New York State Parks in 2015.


Southern Region


Julie Brown, Maryland

The Southern Region award recipient is Julie Brown of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Julie, affectionately known throughout the community as “Jet Ski Julie”, is the sole Boating Education Coordinator for the State of Maryland. In the aftermath of a string of juvenile downing’s, the state's began tailoring their “Always Wear a Life Jacket” message to all participants, but especially to children, when going anywhere near the water. Julie has been instrumental in applying the safe boating message to children who may be participating in any water activity. When participating in any public forum, Julie challenges participants to think not just of boating safety, but water safety in general. Julie is dedicated to boating safety and teaches people the precious value of the state’s waterways and how to participate in water activities safely. Her efforts with children not only educate them, but also teach them to be future protectors of natural resources.


Western Region


Liz Lodman, Montana

The Western Region award recipient is Liz Lodman of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Liz has been an invaluable asset to Montana’s recreational boating safety program since 1989. Her dedication to recreational boating education, her passion, enthusiasm, expertise and professionalism, have had a positive and far reaching impact on the citizens of Montana and has inspired generations of Game Wardens. Liz has always been innovative and resourceful in finding ways to bring boating safety awareness and education to the citizens of Montana. Liz exemplifies the image of a true recreational boating professional and public servant.




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.

2018 State Boating Educators of the Year

Northern Region

William Szturma, Connecticut

John Potito, Massachusetts

Ted Albrecht, Michigan

Christopher Jones, New Jersey

John Steinbarge, New York

Normand R. Choquette, Rhode Island

Southern Region

Steve Marshall, Florida

Julie Brown, Maryland

Richard (Richie) L. Ayers, Missouri

Darby Enoch, North Carolina

Chester Slagle, Tennessee

Dana Gage, Texas

Jimmy Counts, Virginia

Western Region

Rick Petersen, Alaska

Doug Powell, California

Andrew Dean, Colorado

Juelie Traska, Idaho

Liz Lodman, Montana

(Those in bold text are the regional boating educators of the year)

Previous Recipients