In 2019, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators’ Boat Operations and Training Program (BOAT) celebrated its 10-year anniversary. In the early 2000s, NASBLA recognized that there was a need to develop a national training standard among all local, state and tribal law enforcement and emergency first responders. After years of research and discussion with state, federal and local partners, the NASBLA BOAT Program was officially unveiled in 2009.
Since its inception, the BOAT Program has grown immensely. In 2009, there were 15 instructors working to train officers across the country to meet this National Standard. Today, there are more than 230 program instructors dedicated to teaching maritime law enforcement officers how to work seamlessly on the water to act as a force multiplier for the U.S. Coast Guard.
“The reason the BOAT Program has been so successful is twofold. The first is the concept of training all maritime deck plate officers to one National Standard, which has vastly improved officer safety and exponentially increased the safety and security of our nation’s ports and waterways,” Dave Considine, BOAT program director, said in a prepared statement. “The second is the knowledge, skills and experience of our instructor cadre. We have over 200 seasoned maritime professionals, with the vast majority having 20 plus years of experience operating on the water. All of our instructors remain part of the program because they all have the same end goal in mind, to have every public safety boat operator return home safely each night to their families.”
Over the course of the past 10 years, the BOAT Program has issued over 17,000 graduation certificates to officers who have successfully completed a course. The BOAT Program has been effective in delivering and implementing a standard of training which allows for interoperability and synergy amongst all levels of government. Beyond that, the BOAT Program has implemented agency accreditations, so that they can train and qualify their officers internally. There are currently 26 accredited agencies throughout the U.S.
The BOAT Program offers 17 different courses specializing in Boating Under the Influence, Boat Operator Search and Rescue (BOSAR), Boating Accident Investigation and much more. These courses are offered throughout the year all across the country to ensure officers everywhere have the opportunity to standardize their training on the water.