The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, in conjunction with Boat Ed, is proud to announce the United States Power Squadrons as the 2015 Innovations Award recipient.
The award was presented at the 56th NASBLA Annual Conference in Wichita, Kansas, at the awards dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
The Boating Skills Virtual Trainer program created by the United States Power Squadrons shows great potential for being transferable to other states and programs. Though there were many qualified applicants, this simulation-based program stood out as an excellent way to educate the public about boating safety.
The Boating Skills Virtual Trainer program is an instructor tool that provides hands-on practice, emphasizing boating maneuvers, safe practices, and navigational rules in realistic on-the-water scenarios. It aims to overcome problems related to boater inexperience and inattention through a safe space in which to practice safe boating.
Modeled after a 21-foot open motorboat on a lake, the program uses a standard computer set up with three monitors and a mobile steering wheel attached to a desktop or table, as well as a marine shift/throttle assembly, so that users can “drive” the simulated boat. A horn button allows users to demonstrate whistle signals. Lessons include docking and undocking, beaching, navigation through basic red/green channel markers, and a slalom course. Each lesson can be customized by choosing direction and velocity of wind, direction and velocity of current, and day or night scenarios.
The program originated in 2013 and was deployed nationwide in June 2014. It is now in an outreach and expansion phase.
Honorable mentions are awarded to:
- The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, for its SCDNR Boating Simulator Trailer. The Simulator Trailer allows users to create an “on the water” experience from the safety of dry land, using a Boating Skills Virtual Trainer and a full-scale boat.
- The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, for the FishBoatPA mobile app. The app provides information, education, directions and license resources on mobile devices.
The Innovations initiative brings visibility to exemplary state, corporate or public-private partnerships and encourages sharing of initiatives with other agencies and recreational boating safety stakeholders.
The Innovations Award is presented annually to the program or initiative that demonstrates the highest level of innovation leading to advances in boating safety. In order to qualify for the award, the program must be:
- Newly established—between 9 months and 5 years in practice
- Creative—represent a new and creative approach to problems or issues in the recreational boating safety community.
- Effective—achieving its goals, objectives and purposes.
- Transferable—easily shared with other states or marine safety and enforcement organizations.
- Significant—addressing significant recreational boating safety issues or problems.
Winners of the Innovations Award:
- Are recognized in front of their peers at the awards ceremony during the NASBLA Annual Conference, in Small Craft Advisory magazine, on the NASBLA website and through a nationally distributed press release.
- Receive a great opportunity to showcase agency or company accomplishments.
- Have a great opportunity to share effective innovations with partners from across the country.
The 2015 NASBLA Annual Conference was held Sept. 13-16 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita in Wichita, Kansas. The NASBLA Annual Conference provides an opportunity for state recreational boating safety professionals and others to network, learn the newest strategies in boating safety, and conduct business.
Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc., parent company of Boat Ed® and boat-ed.com, is the official provider of recreational safety education materials for all 50 states. Our print and Internet courses have been providing official safety certification since 1995. We provide safety courses in boating, hunting, bowhunting, and off-road vehicle (ORV) and snowmobile operation. For more information, visit http://www.kalkomey.com.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit 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. The association offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, NASBLA affects the lives of more than 83 million American boaters. For more information, visit http://www.nasbla.org.