NASBLA names the 2022 Southern Region Educator of the Year award winner
Trooper Tyler W. O'Brien, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, has been named the 2022 NASBLA Southern Region Educator of the Year.
Trooper O'Brien is a Marine Enforcement Trooper working in Troop F, Zone 19. He is one of three members of Zone 19, which covers 10 counties, in Central Missouri.
Trooper O'Brien has become a standout in water safety education within his Zone, Troop, and State. Whether he is working enforcement during Missouri's primary boating season, teaching the boater education course in the off-season, or teaching other law enforcement agencies, Trooper O'Brien's focus is constantly educating the public.
During the 2021 boating season, Trooper O'Brien's efforts brought him into contact with a significant number of boaters. Regardless of the activity, Trooper O'Brien always takes the extra time to ensure he educates the boating public. He hands out small educational handbooks after nearly every contact with boaters, which he uses to show them where they can find information about the law they violated. Trooper O'Brien also actively seeks out children to speak about the importance of wearing Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), and presents those who are wearing PFDs with PFD awareness t-shirts.
During the off-season, Zone 19 refocuses its efforts from enforcement to teaching the boater education course. This could prove difficult for Zone 19 because adult boaters are not required to have boater education card on Missouri waterways. Once a person is over 14 years of age, an individual can legally drive a boat on Missouri waterways without a boater education card. However, Trooper O'Brien understands the importance of educating the public about boating and water safety, even though it is not required for most of Zone 19's coverage area. Therefore, he makes it a priority to bring the boater education class to all of the area schools.
In 2021, Zone 19 conducted 35 certified boater education courses and many water and boat safety presentations. Trooper O'Brien taught 12 of these 35 boater education courses. His efforts brought boating and water safety education to over 500 citizens in the Central Missouri Region.
Trooper O'Brien assisted approximately 30 Sea Cadets in getting some of their first experiences with boats. In partnership with the Osage County Sheriff's Department, Trooper O'Brien took Sea Cadets on short familiarization rides on the Osage River. This experience gave the Sea Cadets a greater understanding of the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Marine Operations function. Trooper O'Brien also taught river navigation and basic boat operations to brand new boaters from public service agencies throughout Missouri and Iowa.
Trooper O'Brien continues to improve his marine-related knowledge to better educate and assist the citizens of Missouri. Trooper O'Brien's efforts on the water and in the classroom have significantly increased boating and water safety in the Central Missouri area. Congratulations Trooper Tyler O'Brien!
Generously sponsored by 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.