NASBLA names the 2021 Northern Region Educator of the Year award winner
Jerry Desmond, of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (“DEEP”)
, has been named the 2021 Northern Region Educator of the Year
Prior to joining DEEP, Desmond retired as Captain of Police after serving 34 years with the Stonington Police Department (SPD). For 17 of these years, he led the SPD Marine Division conducting many marine patrols and was instrumental in training officers in boating law enforcement.
Desmond also spent some of this time educating the public on boating safety as a certified volunteer boating education instructor from 1992 – 2014, and as a private provider from 1998 – 2012. Additionally, he was a certified instructor in Rhode Island for five years over this same time period.
Since Desmond joined DEEP in 2014, he has leaned on his extensive knowledge of boating safety to perform his duties as Connecticut’s boating education coordinator with passion and fervor.
Desmond has been extremely successful in bringing creative programming ideas around boating safety to market. He launched and produced a TV series called “Better Boating in Connecticut,” which ran on local PBS stations and online. In addition to this, Desmond also initiated an annual boating safety program for middle and high school students called the ‘Student Ambassador Program’ to raise awareness of safe boating habits for young people.
Additionally, Desmond manages an annual Law Enforcement Seminar which provides training for boating law enforcement officers across the state. He is also responsible for teaching boating safety classes, coordinating volunteer instructors and private providers, and helping to manage seasonal employees during the summer months.
However, what truly made Desmond stand apart from the other boating education coordinators, was his response to the pandemic. In early 2020, Desmond spearheaded the DEEP effort to create a virtual boating education platform so that agencies could continue to offer training. As the COVID-19 lockdowns begun, Desmond made it possible for the important work and training in Connecticut to continue. He led a team in creating and designing a virtual platform for education and testing that would ensure DEEP’s high-quality boater education could continue in a virtual environment. In a matter of weeks, Connecticut’s virtual education and training went from an idea to an ‘essential activity’ as the Governor issued an Executive Order allowing DEEP to hold virtual classes. To date, Desmond’s efforts have allowed more than 17,500 students to take remote boating education training on the virtual platform in less than one year.
Desmond’s creativity and dedication to boating safety make the waterways of Connecticut a safer place for all recreational users. His efforts to continue to educate the boating community during a worldwide pandemic demonstrates his commitment to DEEP, and the recreational boating community as a whole. Congratulations Jerry Desmond!
Generously sponsored by Fresh Air Educators, and Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., the Pamela S. Dillon 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.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) 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 nearly 85 million American boaters.