During the 2023 State Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Workshop held March 1 – 2 in Lexington, Kentucky, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) recognized William Vann Burgess for his outstanding career with the U.S. Coast Guard and his lasting impact on the Recreational Boating Safety program.
NASBLA Chair Susan Stocker presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Vann Burgess. This recognition is given to those who have made significant contributions to boating safety over his or her lifetime.
W. Vann Burgess leaves behind a tremendous professional legacy. Mr. Burgess retired from the United States Coast Guard in February of 2000 after serving more than 21 years on active duty. During his career, Mr. Burgess’s primary fields were law enforcement and search and rescue. His last tour of duty was as the coordinator and lead instructor for the Marine Patrol Officer’s Course and regulatory subject matter expert for the Boarding Officer’s Course at the Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement School, Yorktown, Virginia.
In July 2000, Mr. Burgess began working at the Boating Safety Division, Coast Guard Headquarters, where he now serves as the Coast Guard’s Senior Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Specialist. In his current position, Mr. Burgess oversees the programmatic operation of the State RBS Grant Program provided under the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. This grant program provides funding to all U.S. states and territories for vessel numbering, RBS law enforcement, RBS education, search and rescue, and boating incident investigation and reporting.
In addition to this, Mr. Burgess serves as the programmatic lead for the Vessel Identification System (VIS), a national database for state numbered and Coast Guard documented vessels for the purposes of law enforcement and security. He also authored an update to the program’s primary instruction document, the State Guide, and he has been a major voice behind much of the program’s policy. Vann Burgess has been indispensable to the U.S. Coast Guard and the recreational boating safety industry.
On March 31, 2023, Vann Burgess will retire from his role as the Senior Recreational Boating Safety Program Specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division. This comes after serving the U.S. Coast Guard for over 40 years as an active-duty Coast Guard Boatswains Mate and a member of the Boating Safety Division.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators congratulates W. Vann Burgess on these accomplishments and thanks him for his continued commitment to advancing boating safety.