October 3, 2013
Connecticut Boating Education Coordinator Receives Prestigious Award for Dedicating Life to Educating Boaters
During its 54th annual conference, held in Boise, Idaho, Sept. 14-18, 2013, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) presented John Annino, boating education coordinator with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), with its Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his numerous significant contributions to recreational boating safety both on state and national levels.
NASBLA first presented its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. This award is designed for persons who have contributed to boating safety over his or her lifetime or career.
For over 30 years, John Annino has assisted the state of Connecticut in making its waters safer through boating safety education. He began his career with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 1983 as a volunteer boating safety instructor teaching the Basic Boating Program, which he did passionately for 10 years. Annino then worked for the department on a seasonal basis, assisting the education coordinator in administering the boating education program. In on the ground floor of Connecticut’s mandatory safe boating and personal watercraft education programs, Annino taught basic boating classes leading to certification for his own company and in 1999 was hired to supervise DEP’s Boating Education Unit.
In addition to the professionalism he brought to the, now, DEEP in administering the boating education and certification program, Annino will leave the department a better place through his long list of achievements. Some of the most important include:
- combining basic boating and personal watercraft handling courses into one, thereby ensuring all boaters understand the operating characteristics of PWC and improving convenience to PWC operators;
- streamlining Connecticut’s challenge exam process for boaters and staff;
- developing a Quality Boating Teacher Proficiency Certificate Program for all boating safety instructors statewide to receive training on key boating safety topics;
- bringing California’s AquaSmart program to Connecticut to introduce schoolchildren to water and boating safety;
- training police officers and pumpout boat operators on navigation rules and safe boat handling;
- training seasonal staff to perform Vessel Safety Checks to USCG Auxiliary standards at state launches (Connecticut is currently the only state agency in the country allowed to issue decals) and to encourage clean boating practices;
- improving paddling safety in Connecticut by recommending a course in paddling safety and developing a good rapport with Connecticut’s paddling organizations.
Additionally, Annino developed and implemented a “Coastal Boater Endorsement Program” in Connecticut in 2007 to promote and encourage boaters on Long Island Sound to seek additional knowledge. Working with the US Power Squadrons and US Coast Guard Auxiliary, he developed a set of minimum education standards that would provide the navigation, electronic instrumentation, and chart plotting skills to supplement the basic boating safety course. Boaters receive a Coastal Boater Endorsement for their certificate upon successful completion of the advanced boating course. More recently, he brought on-water boating education to Connecticut and ensured that Connecticut has instructors certified by the National Safe Boating Council.
Annino has assisted NASBLA by serving on the association’s education committee in numerous capacities for almost 15 years. He is currently a member of the newly formed Education Standards Panel that seeks ANSI accreditation for NASBLA’s education standards.