The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division is the first agency in the United States to earn national accreditation in the Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) program administered by the National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
During a ceremony in Milwaukee, Wis. at NASBLA’s Annual Conference, NASBLA’s President Jim Graybeal presented LDWF’s Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne and Lt. Spencer Cole with the formal Accreditation Certificate.
According to NASBLA.org, the BOAT program establishes a national standard for the training and qualification of maritime law enforcement and rescue personnel. Adoption and implementation of the BOAT program provides a true national standard for the purpose of maritime interoperability at the federal, state and local levels. Standardization ensures maritime agencies can interact together and will bolster their ability to act as force multipliers nationwide.
“Agencies who choose to adopt this national standard of training can assure their ability to conduct missions on our nation’s waterways safely and effectively and operate seamlessly with their federal, state and local partners on the water,” said John Fetterman, NASBLA’s Director of Law Enforcement. “Congratulations go to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries for being the first accredited state agency in our BOAT program, which other states will use as a model of success.”
The LDWF Enforcement Division is the first agency to implement the BOAT standard in all aspects of operations and training including cadet training at the academy level and training of partners throughout the state across all jurisdictions. The BOAT program will enhance LDWF’s training plans in the areas of basic crewmember, boat operator for search and rescue and tactical operations.
“This is a significant achievement for the department as we work with the U.S. Coast Guard, State Police and local authorities daily in patrolling our local waterways,” said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state’s Boating Law Administrator. “This training program allows every enforcement agency responsible for securing and providing safe passage on our waterways to train together and be on the same page during natural disasters and maritime security threats.”
The LDWF Enforcement Division is an active participant in Louisiana’s Homeland Security Plan and represents the state in waterborne emergencies. Through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, LDWF is the lead agency for search and rescue operations during natural disasters and maritime security of Louisiana’s vital business and government interests along the coast and major rivers.
As members of the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Area Maritime Security Executive Steering Committee and all major port security committees within the state, LDWF Law Enforcement Division agents frequently respond to requests to deploy LDWF marine resources for security concerns.
The LDWF Enforcement Division’s specialized training and equipment and its ability to operate throughout the state’s vast maze of waterways and wild areas has complemented Louisiana’s ability to respond to emergencies on the water.