NASBLA honors Oregon boat-inspection program

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The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, in conjunction with Boat Ed, announced the Oregon State Marine Board Boat Inspection and Procurement Program as the recipient of the 2014 Innovations Award.

The award was presented Saturday at the 55th NASBLA Annual Conference in Bar Harbor, Maine, at an awards luncheon.

Although there were several programs in the contest, the Oregon program stood out as being the most transferable to other states. The state marine board established a protocol in which all board-funded law enforcement vessels are now inspected annually for condition, safety, damage and maintenance needs.

To support the program, state marine board employee Mervin Hee created an electronic document-management and database-reporting system that enables the staff to inspect and track more than 100 vessels across 32 counties.

All boat-related purchases, repairs and replacements are now documented in one efficient database. The system has also made grant allocations a transparent and objective process. Electrical problems were caught before disasters and the database has made it easy to locate areas where staff needed additional training. Users can upload information directly from an iPad while on-site at an inspection.

Honorable mentions were awarded to:

• The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Boating Safety Awareness Program, which promoted safety awareness and outreach through messaging across multiple media outlets and in-person outreach.

• The Marine Exchange of Alaska MXAK Digital Selective Calling/AIS Weather Project, which utilized resources across several departments to build a network of more than 120 identification systems, weather stations and DSC operations in Alaska.

• The “10 Tips to Boating Safely”video series created by the American Canoe Association, which used humor and animation to entertain viewers while transmitting safety information.

• The Cross Pollination program created by the WaterSports Federation, which established a national outreach campaign for creative educational media.