Operation Dry Water Award Winners Recognized at the 60th Annual NASBLA Conference
The Operation Dry Water Awards Program recognizes law enforcement officers and agencies that are making a positive impact on boating under the influence (BUI). This year, the 2019 Operation Dry Water (ODW) award winners were recognized at the NASBLA Annual Conference held in Anchorage, Alaska. The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 1st, where the ODW Officer of the Year, Top Agencies and Media Award winners were honored for their hard work and dedication to boating under the influence prevention and the Operation Dry Water campaign.
The 2019 Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year is Texas Game Warden Tyler Zaruba from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. This award was accepted by Chief Kevin Davis and Asst. Commander Cody Jones, Texas Boating Law Administrator, on the behalf of Game Warden Tyler Zaruba. Over the Operation Dry Water weekend, Game Warden Zaruba made two (2) arrests for boating under the influence. Warden Zaruba leads the Houston Region in criminal citations and arrests. His attention to detail and ability to carefully establish the criminal elements of a case are renowned throughout the state. Warden Zaruba always conducts his affairs with a high degree of integrity and sincerity, which promotes a positive image for the Texas enforcement efforts among the community. Game Warden Zaruba’s commitment to keeping the Texas waterways and roadways safe is unmatched.
The 2019 Operation Dry Water Top Agency awards are based on officer participation and BUI arrests during the Operation Dry Water weekend and is broken down into three categories – small, medium and large. This year’s Small Category Top Agency is awarded to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department from the state of California. This award was presented to Deputy William Poe. Over the course of the three-day heightened enforcement weekend, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deployed three (3) officers and made six (6) boating under the influence arrests. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s support and dedication to removing impaired boaters from the water is evident and outstanding.
The Medium Category Top Agency is given to USCG Station Marblehead in the state of Ohio. This award was presented to Chief Warrant Officer Bethannie Kittrell and Petty Officer Victoria Martin. During the three-day Operation Dry Water weekend, USCG Station Marblehead deployed eighteen (18) officers and made ten (10) boating under the influence arrests. Our thanks goes out to U.S. Coast Guard Station Marblehead for their participation and their dedication to BUI prevention.
The Large Category Top Agency is awarded to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. This award was presented to the North Carolina Boating Law Administrator, Major Ben Meyer. Over the course of the Operation Dry Water weekend, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission deployed one-hundred and sixty-six (166) officers and made twenty-nine (29) boating under the influence arrests. We’d like to recognize the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for their continued commitment to keeping our waterways safe by actively and thoroughly addressing boating under the influence throughout their state.
The final Operation Dry Water award presented at the Annual Conference was the Agency Media Award. This award recognizes an agency that used media outreach platforms to promote awareness of the Operation Dry Water campaign and to make a difference in recreational boating safety by educating boaters and raising awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence on our nation’s waterways. The 2019 Operation Dry Water Agency Media Award winner is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division. This award was presented to Chief Kevin Davis and Asst. Commander Cody Jones, Texas Boating Law Administrator. Texas Parks and Wildlife created a media outreach campaign which took a number of innovated approaches to getting the Operation Dry Water messaging out prior to and during the ODW weekend. In total, Texas Game Wardens conducted 33 news interviews, to include both English and Spanish news channels, over the course of the 3-day weekend. Additionally, the Law Enforcement Division ran a social media campaign that consisted of 32 social media posts on various platforms. These social media posts produced over 650,000 unique impressions and engaged more than 74,000 people over the course of July 4th and the 2019 Operation Dry Water campaign.
NASBLA would like to thank all of the award winners for their passion for BUI detection and their dedication to removing impaired boaters from our nation’s waterways. Our partners’ willingness to go the extra mile to ensure that boaters on the water are safe is greatly appreciated and needed. Thank you to all the agencies and partners involved for all you do both during Operation Dry Water weekend, and all throughout the year.
The 2020 Operation Dry Water heightened awareness and enforcement weekend will take place nationwide, July 3 – 5, 2020.
Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water.
Operation Dry Water was launched in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. Operation Dry Water is produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard and is a product of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.