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NASBLA recognizes Lieutenant Kenton Turner for service as Chairman

By Taylor Kirshe posted 01-10-2023 09:28 AM

December 30, 2022

Col. Steve Hunter, Director

Division of Law Enforcement
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Colonel Hunter:

On behalf of the membership of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), I am writing to thank you and the Division of Law Enforcement for the leadership and guidance exhibited by Lieutenant Kenton Turner during his recent tenure as Chair of the NASBLA Executive Board during 2021-2022.

Assuming the chairmanship of our association as our nation began to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall of 2021, Lt. Kenton Turner led the board and the association in identifying and implementing measures to assist the states and the association in a return to normalcy. Among other significant accomplishments summarized below, Lt. Turner encouraged the board and other elements of NASBLA to find ways to engage more proactively with our members and our partners. He personally led an executive board delegation to Whitefish, Montana early this year to participate firsthand in the Western States Boating Administrators Association annual conference, resuming this long-running event after a nearly three-year hiatus.

A two-time graduate of NASBLA’s prestigious RBS Leadership Academy himself, Lt. Turner personally assisted staff in hosting the event for a record-breaking cohort. Established more than a decade ago, the Leadership Academy provides an annual, week-long intensive training and professional development seminar to a cadre of rising young professionals from across the country and multiple organizational disciplines active in the recreational boating safety and security arena. Not only has Lt. Turner remained committed to the goals of this national undertaking, he continues to champion this event among his agency’s own cadre of marine law enforcement officers as well, facilitating the participation of multiple Indiana DNR officers over the years and providing for program continuity.

Under Turner’s guidance, NASBLA’s Boat Operations and Training Program (BOAT) saw a record setting year in course deliveries. In 2022, 209 total courses were delivered to nearly 3,000 students through direct delivery courses, indirect delivery courses hosted by NASBLA accredited agencies, grant funded courses, and courses delivered by the U.S. Coast Guard nationwide. The BOAT Program also increased the number of instructors delivering the national standard of training to more than 380 instructors.

In further support of the BOAT Program and our national training agenda, under Lt. Turner’s watch, NASBLA also finalized the Waterborne Armed Threat Emergency Response Course, otherwise known as the WATER course. This course addresses the training needs of officers on the water confronted by an unexpected armed threat. Key elements of this course include waterborne firearms marksmanship, the use of cover and concealment aboard a vessel, proper vessel positioning and crew movement, shooting positions, disengagement techniques, and medical aid in order to prepare first responders for these unexpected and dangerous scenarios.

Building on the success of the association’s National Boating Education Standards program recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), NASBLA embarked on a new initiative to develop and codify a standard for Investigative Training for Boating Incidents. The new national standard is the product of the ANSI voluntary consensus process by representatives of federal and state government, training producers, and general interest users. It is intended as a guide to aid the recreational boating community in the design and implementation of training course curriculum for recreational boating incident investigators.

In the realm of national boating education policy, which assist the states in delivering quality boater education courses, under Turner’s leadership, the association developed and adopted a new Policy for Course Delivery Platforms and Student Assessments for a Boating Safety Education Course. With the adoption of the Basic Boating Knowledge - Core Standard and the discipline-specific Basic Boating Knowledge - Plus Power American National Standards in June of 2022, it was necessary to update existing NASBLA policy. Committee members updated the document to ensure compliance with the current standard. This document, was adopted by the membership during the 2022 Annual Business Meeting.

NASBLA is a national leader in alcohol mitigation on the water and in 2022, Lt. Turner and the executive board oversaw a record-setting year for its national Operation Dry Water campaign. Over the course of the three-day heightened awareness and enforcement weekend, which took place July 2nd through the 4th, 630 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies participated in the Operation Dry Water campaign. From these agencies, 7,865 law enforcement officers conducted patrols resulting in a total of 794 boating under the influence arrests. Officers also contacted more than 350,000 boaters as part of the national campaign.

Continuing the association’s deep and ongoing commitment to alcohol mitigation, Lt. Turner also supervised the development of an historic, collaborative national agreement between NASBLA and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). In the fall of 2022, NASBLA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MADD, encouraging cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations to reduce and prevent incidents related to boating while impaired through outreach, education, training and support of law enforcement. NASBLA and MADD will work cooperatively to support MADD’s Know Before You Boat campaign and NASBLA’s Operation Dry Water campaign.

Also noteworthy in 2022, the Guide for Multiple Use Waterway Management, Third Edition, was produced by NASBLA and the River Management Society. The guide supports the reduction of recreational boating fatalities and injuries through improved understanding of, and accessibility to, tools needed to implement sound management processes on shared recreational waters. The guide provides direction for effective waterway management, including policy development, and communication for public understanding, acceptance, and compliance.

Finally, in keeping with its charge to assist the broader recreational boating community, under Lt. Turner’s hands-on participation and personal engagement, NASBLA client organizations including the Life Jacket Association (LJA) and the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) both returned to in-person annual meetings in 2022 under their association management services staffing agreements. The 2022 LJA Annual Conference took place in May in Clearwater Beach, Florida, and the 2022 SOBA Education and Training Symposium was held in Cleveland, Ohio during the last week of August.

Clearly, the 2021-2022 program year has been an extremely productive period for our association and we are deeply indebted to Lt. Kenton Turner for his enthusiastic leadership and supervision. NASBLA is also grateful and appreciative to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for allowing Lt. Turner to play this critical national leadership role in helping our association in fostering safe and enjoyable recreational boating nationwide.


John M. Johnson, CAE
Chief Executive Officer

C: The Honorable Eric J. Holcomb, Governor, State of Indiana

     The Honorable Daniel W. Bortner, Director, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Letter to Colonel Hunter