Boating Officer of the Year

nominating boating officer of the year

Nominations are open to all commissioned, certified or sworn peace officers authorized by the state to enforce the recreational boating safety laws of that state. Boating law administrators should nominate candidates who have made an outstanding contribution to boating safety through enforcement. A nominee should have performed an outstanding service to the agency or state in any facet of recreational boating safety including but not limited to enforcement, education, search and rescue, outreach, innovation, partnership, BUI enforcement, accident investigation, community service, and heroic action. 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 boating officer of the year 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 officer of the year selected

NASBLA is pleased to announce the regional winners of the Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. This award symbolizes the highest level of achievement among boating law enforcement officers in the U.S.

The selection process for this award began in January with NASBLA soliciting nominations for each state and territory boating law enforcement officer of the year. Next, each regional association of boating law administrators chose one regional award recipient, making that officer eligible for consideration for the national award. The national award recipient is announced during the NASBLA Annual Conference

National Winner 2018

During its 
59th annual meeting, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sept. 9 -12, 2018, NASBLA presented its prestigious national Boating Officer of the Year award to Officer Juan Blanco with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). NASBLA congratulates Officer Juan Blanco on receiving the National Boating Officer of the Year award in recognition of his dedication, commitment and impact on recreational boating safety.

Northern Region


Sgt. Guy Wendorf, Indiana DNR, Law Enforcement Division 

The Northern Region award recipient is Sergeant Guy Wendorf of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Throughout Sgt. Wendorf’s career his expertise, dedication, and commitment to the boating mission remains unmatched throughout the state of Indiana.  Across the state, Sgt. Wendorf’s name is synonymous with anything attributed to boating. The eight years he served as a Reservist with the U.S. Coast Guard provided a foundational love and appreciation for serving the boating public. Sgt. Wendorf has built upon that foundation over the past 22 years and is routinely called upon for his expertise.

In 2017, Sgt. Wendorf was instrumental in the implementation of a Radiological Nuclear Detection program for the Law Enforcement Division, served as a credentialed instructor for the NASBLA BOAT Program’s Boat Crew Members Course and Pursuit & Stop Courses, organized a District Sonar Team and trained the team in the use of the equipment. Sgt. Wendorf is passionate about educating officers in all facets of boats, boat operations, navigation, and application of boating laws. His passion, example, commitment and devotion to the mission exemplify the epitome of the responsibility and dedication of a Conservation Officer.

Southern Region


Officer Juan Blanco, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Southern Region award recipient is Officer Juan Blanco with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Ofc. Blanco began doing volunteer work for FWC in 2010 and fell in love with the agency and it’s mission. In 2015 Ofc. Blanco was hired by the FWC. Ofc. Blanco has taken a leadership role in Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) enforcement within his assigned patrol area. Ofc. Blanco participated in all of the BUI saturation details in Miami-Dade County in 2017 and personally made over 25 arrests for BUI. He also assisted with multiple BUI investigations in which he mentored many officers in adequate BUI procedures. Ofc. Blanco’s work ethic has influenced his peers to understand the importance of public service and public relations. On a daily basis Ofc. Blanco prioritizes and is a strong believer in education. He has led and participated in over a dozen “Career Days” at local schools and is frequently called upon to assist in public outreach due to his passion to educate the public and reach the next generation.

Ofc. Blanco has also been part of the state’s initiative to partner Big Brothers Big Sisters. The vision behind this partnership is to encourage not only positive relationships with Law Enforcement Officers and the community but also to educate the next generations to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and understand the importance of conservation. Ofc. Blanco is always the first Officer to volunteer for deployment and deployed immediately for Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria. After the catastrophic damage done by Irma, he was deployed to assist and kept a positive attitude and willingness to help although he had also been personally affected by hurricane Irma. Ofc. Blanco also volunteered to assist in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria.

Western Region

western.jpgSgt. Reid McNally, Bullhead City Police Department

The Western Region award recipient is Sergeant Reid McNally with the Bullhead City Police Department in Arizona. In 2004 he was detailed to the Community Oriented Policing/Special Problems Section whose primary responsibility was patrolling the Colorado River. In May 2015, Sgt. McNally was given the opportunity to directly supervise the Department’s Waterways Unit. He hit the ground running, determined to make the waters adjacent to Bullhead City safe for all to enjoy. Sgt. McNally quickly realized that rental watercraft were directly involved in most of the collisions on the Colorado River. Sgt. Reid worked closely with Arizona Game and Fish education and law enforcement programs and other organization to create a unique educational boating safety video in order to enhance the safety practices of operators of rental watercraft.

Sgt. McNally spearheaded an effort to educate the Bullhead City Council of the public safety concerns on the Colorado River which led to the adoption of a city ordinance that required viewing of a boating safety video prior to renting and operating watercraft on the Colorado River for all businesses operating within the city limits. Sgt. McNally has spent a significant amount of his career working to enhance boating safety. There is no question that through Sgt. McNally’s efforts, lives have been saved and the numbers of boating incidents have been reduced due to his commitment to boating safety. His efforts clearly demonstrated the use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the concerns of public safety.


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. The award program consists of three levels: state, regional and national.

2018 State Boating Officers of the Year

Northern Region

Gregory Ulkus, Connecticut

Timothy Koebel, Delaware

Joshua Mooi, Illinois

Guy Wendorf, Indiana

Dustin Eighmy, Iowa

James Mayotte, Maine

John Girvalakis, Massachusetts

Mark Siemen, Michigan

Scott Fitzgerald, Minnesota

Robert Sutphen, New York

Corey Erck, North Dakota

Robert Plumb, Pennsylvania

Daniel K. White, Rhode Island

Josh Vanden Bosch, South Dakota

Jeff Lautenslager, Wisconsin

Southern Region

Joe Williams, Arkansas

Juan Blanco, Florida

Mark Puig, Georgia

Jon Entwhistle, Kansas

Austin Arteaga, Louisiana

Bryce Parrish, Maryland

Logan B. Monahan, Missouri

Charles Nunnery, North Carolina

Stephen Bryant, South Carolina

Nathan Karch, Tennessee

Phillip Wood, Texas

Matthew Sandy, Virginia

Bryan Hill, West Virginia

Western Region

Paul McConnell, Alaska

Reid McNally, Arizona

Karl Halamicek, California

Nathan Allredge, California

John Merson, Colorado

Jon Entwhistle, Kansas

Skyler Mitchell, Montana

James Morgan, Utah

Brian Noel, Washington

Adam Parks, Wyoming


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

Previous Recipients