The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is responsible for ensuring that Florida’s residents and visitors are able to safely enjoy the state’s beautiful natural resources, including its waterways. In addition to patrols on the water, FWC staff performs outreach and planning to promote safe and environmentally responsible boating practices.
In order to continually improve, the FWC coordinates with other state agencies through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). At its annual conference this week in Mobile, Ala., representatives from NASBLA presented the FWC with two prestigious awards.
The “Innovations” award, sponsored by Boat Ed, recognizes innovative initiatives that advance boating safety. It was presented to the FWC for its Statewide At-Risk Vessel Application.
“Abandoned and derelict boats are a serious problem in Florida,” said Phil Horning, administrator of the FWC’s program. “They are eyesores in our beautiful waterways and pose safety, navigational and environmental hazards.”
Removing these derelict vessels is costly and time-consuming, so the FWC launched the program to work proactively and communicate with boat owners whose boats are at risk of becoming derelict.
“Through an online database, officers can identify and mark these at-risk boats, then work with the boat owners to take care of them. Members of the public can also view the database to see if boats in their area are being addressed by law enforcement,” Horning said.
Also, Capt. Richard Moore, the FWC’s state boating law administrator, received the “William B. Garner National Boating Safety Leadership” award. This recognizes individuals with exceptional vision, persistence and willingness to go beyond the status quo, and whose actions have impacted recreational boating safety at the national level.
“Richard has a genuine passion for making boating a safe and enjoyable activity for all who participate,” said Maj. Jack Daugherty, leader of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section. “He has taken the lead representing the boating safety interests of Florida at both the state and national levels.”
Under Moore’s direction, NASBLA has made strides in educating and training officers on boating under the influence. He was instrumental in the creation of new field sobriety tests and in redesigning a national curriculum for teaching boating-under-the-influence detection and enforcement. This has led to better prepared officers who can keep boaters safer on the water.
For more information about the FWC’s boating safety program and other efforts, visit MyFWC.com/Boating.
Logo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission