Power of A: Strong Sailing

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators sets training standards for maritime law enforcement.

With help from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, law enforcement is ready to serve at sea as well as on land.

Through its Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Program—a 2016 ASAE Power of A Summit Award winner—NASBLA has established national training standards for maritime law enforcement officers and emergency responders.

“That standard ensures true interoperability and ensures these local, county, state, and federal public safety officials can all operate on the same sheet of music, on the same page, and work together whether it be a natural disaster or a manmade disaster or a security event,” BOAT Director Mark DuPont says.

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, NASBLA realized the law enforcement authorities helping the Coast Guard enforce security zones on the water weren’t properly trained to perform that role. The national standards and BOAT program were created to bridge that gap. All U.S. states and territories as well as the Coast Guard have signed onto it.

The association hosts courses during the year to train public safety personnel, as well as train the course instructors in the standards and adult education techniques. In addition, NASBLA accredits organizations to provide training that meets the standards. The 19 agencies that are either accredited or in the process are also subject to audit by NASBLA.

“What [accreditation] allows NASBLA to do is train more people,” DuPont says. “It creates a force multiplier, so as they start spreading the word, they’re training more people and doing it in accordance with the standards we’ve established.”

Those who complete the training receive a certification and are entered into a database, organized by the roles they have been trained for.

The Coast Guard or emergency operations centers can then refer to the database in the case of an emergency “to see who in their area, or who in a 50-mile radius, or 100-mile radius, or in the entire state has been trained as a tactical operator or a search-and-rescue operator so that the people that they call upon to assist them in the execution of that mission have been trained to the national standards,” DuPont says.


Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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