Written to the Director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) by NASBLA on behalf of our membership.
Dear Director Fitts,
On behalf of the membership of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), I am writing to thank you and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) for the exemplary leadership of Captain Stephanie Weatherington, who recently completed the year as the association’s President. As Arkansas’s Boating Law Administrator and NASBLA President, Captain Weatherington has distinguished herself and the AGFC as national leaders in recreational boating safety and boating law enforcement.
Among the numerous NASBLA accomplishments achieved under Captain Weatherington’s year at the helm, at the annual conference last fall, the association proudly announced the successful completion of a national campaign to promote, adopt and implement universal, mandatory life jacket wear policies for all marine law enforcement officers (MLEOs). Established to protect our most valuable and irreplaceable resource – the men and women of marine law enforcement – this mandatory life jacket wear policy reflects the culmination of a five-year initiative to enhance the safety and security of MLEOs across the nation.
Utilizing the energy and expertize of MLEOs and partner agencies throughout the nation, in 2017, NASBLA’s Operation Dry Water (ODW) shattered all previous records for the 9-year national alcohol awareness and enforcement campaign. With officers from more than 625 agencies working together to reduce incidents of Boating Under the Influence (BUI), ODW participants saw a more than 175% increase in boater and vessel contacts (over 2016), with a nearly 175% increase in the total number of citations and 140% increase in BUIs over the same period. ODW continues to positively impact our nation’s waterways, resulting in more than 500 BUI arrests and 8,500 related citations during the Fourth of July weekend alone.
In addition to successful law enforcement initiatives under Captain Weatherington’s oversight, NASBLA has also advanced its national education programs through the completion of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Basic Boating Knowledge – Sailing Standard (a component of the ANSI/NASBLA National Boating Education Standards.) The third in the series of basic boating knowledge national standards NASBLA developed in concert with ANSI guidelines, the new knowledge sailing standard reflects the association’s deep commitment to evidence-based criteria for boating education courses nationwide.
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