PWIA hands out Boating Safety Leadership Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA) has honored Virginia Boating Law Administrator Charlie Sledd with its 2007 Boating Safety Leadership Award.

The award was handed out during the 48th Annual National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) conference in Burlington, Vt. Charlie Sledd is the first to receive this new PWIA annual award that recognizes a single boating law administrator who has made great strides in the boating law community throughout the year, according to the association.

“This award is in appreciation for Charlie’s hard work this past year to make Virginia’s boating laws stronger,” said Maureen Healey, executive director of PWIA. “His dedication and outstanding leadership in securing passage of a boating education requirement in the state helps keep boating one of America’s greatest pastimes.”

Sledd was instrumental in the passage of Virginia’s new boater education law, which will be implemented in July 2008, according to PWIA. It is a phased-in law that will require all motorboat and PWC operators in the Commonwealth, regardless of age, to pass a NASBLA-approved course. Beginning in 2009, the first phase of younger operators will be required to pass a course. By 2012, every PWC operator will have to meet the requirement, and by 2016, every motor boater in the state will be required to be in compliance with the law, the association reported.

“The personal watercraft industry has been one of our biggest champions behind boater education,” said Sledd. “We share the same belief that an educated boater is a more responsible, safety conscious operator. I am very honored by the industry’s recognition and look forward to continue working with them.”

Sledd is also the Boating Safety Director for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology Education and a Master of Science in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. Sledd began his career with VDGIF in 1974 as a district fisheries biologist and has held a number of senior management positions. He was appointed as the Virginia Boating Law Administrator in January 2000.

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