2020 Regional Boating Educators of the Year Announced
LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2020) – The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) is pleased to announce the regional winners of the Pamela S. Dillon Boating Educator of the Year Award. 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.
As a member of NASBLA, every state and territory is eligible to nominate their state‐level boating educator of the year to be considered for the regional and national Educator of the Year award. The regional winners are invited each year to receive their awards at the NASBLA annual conference. Based on much discussion between the NASBLA Executive Board and our members, the NASBLA Executive Board has made the decision to postpone the in-person conference that was to be held this year in Manchester, New Hampshire. NASBLA will instead be hosting a hybrid conference in 2020 that will be held virtually and, on a limited basis, in person in Lexington, Kentucky. Logistics regarding the recognition of the 2020 award winners will be announced as soon as they come available. Click here for more details on the 2020 NASBLA Annual Conference.
The Northern Region Educator of the Year award recipient is Richard Werner of Safe Boating America. Richard Werner is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed Master and the owner of Safe Boating America, a safety education company based out of Bethpage, New York. Safe Boating America consists of 17 instructors who teach more than 7,500 students annually throughout New York State and Connecticut. As one of New York’s most active instructors, Werner has been certified to teach the New York State safe boating course since 2004. Over the course of the past 16 years, Werner has delivered boating education to over 12,000 students in more than 350 sessions. Perhaps the most notable of Werner’s contributions to New York’s boating community during this past year was his involvement in the passage of Brianna’s Law. Brianna’s Law requires boating safety education for all operators of motorized vessels in New York State. Brianna Lieneck, whom the law was named for, was an 11-year-old girl who was tragically killed in a boating incident on Long Island in 2005. Her mother, Gina, had been fighting for legislation that would require mandatory boating safety education in the state since Brianna’s incident. Werner spent three years advocating as part of Gina’s team until the law was ultimately passed and signed by Governor Cuomo in August of 2019. Find out more about Richard Werner’s work as an educator in the New York boating community.
Sergeant Brad Stoop, of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), has been named the Southern Region Educator of the Year for 2020. Sgt. Brad Stoop began his career with the NCWRC Law Enforcement Division in March of 2000. In 2006, Sgt. Stoop began teaching standardized field sobriety testing procedure with a team of outstanding instructors. Since that time, Sgt. Stoop has had the opportunity to travel to several states to attend the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Instructor Seated Battery course. He and the team of instructors were able to take this curriculum across the state of North Carolina and present it to all NCWRC officers. It has since become an integral part of the basic training program for NCWRC recruits. Just this past year, Sgt. Stoop coordinated a Law Enforcement and First Responders boating safety class for a local fire department and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wildlife damage agents. Over the two-day period, 40 professional firefighters received classroom instruction and on-water training from area officers. The training included basic boat handling, docking, rescue operations and small boat handling. Day in and day out, Sgt. Stoop plays a role in the safety and education of the people of North Carolina, and this is something he takes great pride in. This is consistently exhibited through his efforts to educate the public about safe boating practices in and around the water. Learn more about Sgt. Stoop’s accomplishments.
The Western Region Educator of the Year award recipient is Aaron Meier of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). Since taking over the boating education program, Meier has completely changed the way that the state of Nevada promotes boating safety and education. Meier was aware of the financial difficulties associated with advertising and promotion in entertainment cities such as Las Vegas and Reno. For this reason, Meier has refocused NDOW’s efforts into almost entirely digital campaigns and connected television, such as streaming on Hulu, Sling and Amazon Prime. His efforts led to a 13% increase in the number of boater education certificates awarded in 2019. Over the past two years, Nevada has seen an incredible 33% increase in the number of boater education certificates awarded to recreational boaters. This is a sizable increase in the department’s reach and boater education impact. Nevada’s boater education program is in its current state of excellence due to Meier’s consistent efforts and dedication to boating safety. He is constantly looking for new ways to expand and improve the education program and goes above and beyond in his daily efforts. Meier is an incredible asset to the Nevada Department of Wildlife and his continued involvement points to a promising future for the recreational boating community of Nevada. Read more about Aaron Meier’s achievements throughout his career.
For more information on the Educator of the Year Award, please visit www.nasbla.org/awards.
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.
In 2019, Pamela S. Dillon retired after more than 40 years in recreational boating safety. In 2011, Dillon began serving as the Education and Standards Director for NASBLA. In this position, she led NASBLA’s education efforts with monumental results. Through the renaming of this award, the ‘Pamela S. Dillon Educator of the Year’ award, NASBLA recognizes Dillon for all she has accomplished over a lifetime of vocation and service in the recreational boating community.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. We offer a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards, publications and more. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, we affect the lives of over 76 million American boaters.