Among NASBLA's core values is collaboration with members and stakeholders. In doing so, NASBLA works annually to construct nonprofit grant project proposals to meet the needs of members through research, innovation and standards development. As a result of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Nonprofit Organization Recreational Boating Safety Grant Program applications, NASBLA was awarded funding for 10 grant projects, detailed below. Each of these projects is intended to support members and stakeholders in a coordinated effort to make our nation’s waterways safer.

While several grants were awarded for continuing projects that members will be familiar with, others were granted this year as new, innovative projects intended to better support recreational boating safety professionals across the country.

2020 - 2021 Grants

Boating Incident Investigation Courses

This grant continues efforts by NASBLA and the U.S. Coast Guard to improve the reliability of incident reporting and data collection through the training of law enforcement officers. Grant funding was awarded to conduct five Level I - Comprehensive Boating Incident Investigation courses and one Level II - Advanced Boating Incident Investigation course, giving students the opportunity to advance their skills in incident investigation. With grant assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, NASBLA has been offering boating incident investigation courses for more than two decades.

Boating Safety Dashboards

This grant addresses the continued need to develop, implement and maintain boating safety information using dashboards, a visual tool used to display information and data. NASBLA’s dashboards are intended for use by recreational boating safety (RBS) professionals and stakeholders to make better informed policy and programmatic decisions by providing ready access to U.S. Coast Guard and state-level data.

Boating Under the Influence Detection and Enforcement Training

This grant provides support for NASBLA to conduct targeted trainings to combat boating under the influence of alcohol (BUI) and drugs (BUI-D). Grant funding was awarded to conduct two Boating Under the Influence Train-the-Trainer courses and two Boating Under the Influence Officer courses. Through the BUI Detection and Enforcement Training courses, approximately 64 officers will be trained in the correct usage of the seated battery of Standardized Field Sobriety testing. Additionally, approximately 48 new BUI instructors will be credentialed by NASBLA.

BUI Awareness & Enforcement Campaign: Operation Dry Water

For the thirteenth year, grant funding will be used to deliver the Operation Dry Water (ODW) campaign. Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign. The mission of ODW is to reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water. NASBLA will engage with local, state and federal law enforcement partners as well as outreach partners across the nation to help educate boaters about the dangers associated with boating under the influence and to facilitate the coordinated effort to remove impaired operators from our nation’s waterways.

Development of Boating Incident Standards of Investigation

NASBLA will develop national standards for Boating Incident Investigation, formalizing the methods and processes of boating incident investigation and the resulting boat incident reports. This will ensure correct, concise information is being reported across all reporting agencies.

Development of Technical Solutions & Surveillance Recommendations through the Injury Surveillance Workgroup (ISW) Process: Tier 2 of a 3-Tiered Approach to Improve Boat Occupant Injury Surveillance

This grant project will serve as the second tier of a three-tiered initiative focused on using a public health approach to enhance boat occupant injury surveillance and prevent occupant injuries and enhance safety.

Effectively Prosecuting Boating Under the Influence Cases: Enhanced Training for Courtroom Preparation

Grant funding from this project will be used to initiate collaboration between NASBLA and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) to produce a training module that will enhance courtroom preparation for officers and prosecutors of boating under the influence (BUI) cases. This initial phase of the project, delivered by NASBLA, will enhance the training for officers bridging the gap between successful and unsuccessful prosecution of BUI. The lessons learned in this first phase will be the foundation for incorporating similar training into existing prosecutor training delivered by NDAA.

Life Jacket Website – Providing Comprehensive Resources and Information for RBS Professionals & the Boating Public

This grant project will support and assist the state and territory recreational boating safety programs in educating the boating public about the importance of life jacket wear, a life jackets role in mitigating the inherent risks associated with boating, what types of life jackets are available, the intended uses of different life jackets as guided by the legacy and newly released U.S. Coast Guard life jacket labels, and the legal requirements associated with life jacket wear that vary by state.

National Boating Education Standards

This grant project is intended to reduce recreational boating fatalities and injuries through increasing use and development of American National Standards for recreational boating while providing nationwide uniformity for course developers and providers to cultivate safer boating behaviors in the boating public.

Standardizing State Recreational Boating Safety Statutes & Regulations: NASBLA & the States

This grant project will further NASBLA’s role in bringing together the states’ recreational boating safety agencies by partnering with and supporting the states, the U.S. Coast Guard and the recreational boating safety (RBS) community in standardizing state recreational boating safety statutes, regulations and policies. NASBLA will accomplish this by aligning those interests with activities such as developing and updating model state boating safety policies, standards, and best practices; effectively and continuously communicating those model policies, programs, strategies, standards, and best practices to the states and other partners in the recreational boating community; providing hands-on coordination of state efforts and establish or maintain cooperative environments where state officials can discuss issues, resolutions, policies, and best practices, and improve their management of the RBS programs.