Applying the Public Health Approach to Recreational Boating Injury Prevention

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the Safe States Alliance is pleased to present a four part series entitled: Applying the Public Health Approach to Recreational Boating Injury Prevention.

In 2017, the Coast Guard counted 4,291 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents. State recreational boating safety programs are responsible for the annual implementation of more than 95% of all boating safety expenditures nationwide – including boating law enforcement, boating safety education, public access, aids to navigation and a range of other boating safety services.
NASBLA is committed to cultivating a boating public that is better prepared to engage in safer boating behavior, in part by assisting state boating safety agencies to become fluent in the public health approach to injury prevention. Nationally, NASBLA brings together state recreational boating safety agencies for standardization and reciprocity in public policy development, communicating strategies, coordination, information sharing, education, and training.
This four-part webinar series is organized by four key steps in the public health approach, with relevant Core Competencies for Injury and Violence Prevention mapped to each of these steps. These Core Competencies can provide a roadmap for gaining or strengthening the essential knowledge, skills and behaviors needed to grow professionally, and strengthen the field and practice of IVP, including recreational boating injury prevention.

Jennifer Woody

Public Health Network Coordinator

Jennifer Woody Collins, MPA has been working in injury and violence prevention with the North Carolina Division of Public Health and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Injury Prevention Research Center for over a decade to promote preventing injuries and violence before they happen in the first place. She is the coordinator of the Southeastern and Southwestern Injury Prevention Network that works to strengthen professional networks and practice through training and net building. Jennifer is currently working towards a PhD in Communication Studies at Ohio University with an emphasis on health and organizing.

Ron Sarver

Chief of Knowledge and Learning Management Systems


Ron Sarver began his career with NASBLA in 1993.  He has worked in many aspects of the association including staffing policy committees such as Vessel Identification, Registration & Titling, Law Enforcement, Preparedness & Response, and Paddlesports. Ron now serves as the Chief of Knowledge and Learning Management Systems. He oversees NASBLA's key digital assets including knowledge management, learning management, content management and visual data systems. He administers NASBLA's eLearning efforts, serves as the lead community manager for NASBLA Connect and is the association's lead data visualization leader.

Ron more than 30 years of association experience, having also worked with the Council of State Governments, Southern Governors Association, National Emergency Management Association, Environmental Council of the States and the National Council of State EMS Training Coordinators.  He earned the Certified Association Executive credential in 2010.

Lt. Seth Wagner

Asst. Boating Safety Coordinator

Seth began his career in law enforcement with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2002.  As an officer with FWC part of his job duties was enforcement of boating safety rules and regulations.  In 2012 Seth was promoted to lieutenant in the Boating & Waterways Section of FWC.  His primary duties include reviewing all accident reports that occur in Florida and to enter that data into the U.S. Coast Guard's Boat Accident Report Database (BARD).  He also became a member of NASBLA's Engineering, Reporting & Analysis Committee (ERAC).  Seth is responsible for creating an annual boating accident statistical report for his state and providing statistical data to multiple sections within FWC and other agencies for improving boating safety. That information is used for enforcement activities, education and outreach materials and content and local municipalities for consideration in managing local waterways.

Alan Dellapenna

Branch Head of the Injury & Violence Prevention Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health

Alan has been in his role as Branch Head of the IVP Branch since 2010. Prior to that he spent 27 years as a Commissioned Officer in the US Public Health Service assigned to the Indian Health Service working in South Dakota, Arizona, and Maryland. He has been a leader throughout his career and had demonstrated vision for injury prevention in his position in North Carolina.

Kelli Toth

Boating Safety Consultant, Underway USA

Kelli M. Toth is a life-long Alaskan who enjoys the outdoors and being on the water. She received her Bachelor’s of Business Administration in marketing and a minor in Psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She joined the Alaska Office of Boating Safety team in 2011, as Education Specialist and spokesperson and then Education Coordinator. Her primary responsibility included development, implementation, and evaluation of the Kids Don’t Float education program, outreach efforts of the Alaska Office of Boating Safety, and media relations. After seven and a half years with the Alaska Office of Boating Safety she joined the State of Alaska Division of Public Health in her role as Injury Prevention Coordinator, and recently moved on as a consultant to continue advocating and educating others who want to join the drowning prevention team. Kelli continues her eighth year of service to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Education and Outreach committee and is a charge team leader of the Passenger Safety standard.

Kelli was awarded the Boating Educator of the Year for the State of Alaska in 2015 and 2016. Kelli was recognized as the Boating Educator of the Year by the Western States Boating Administrators Association in 2017 and received the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators National Boating Educator of the Year award in 2017.

She was an integral partner on the “Float Coat Song” project with the partnership of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Kingikmiut Dancers and Singers of Anchorage which received the 2017 National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Innovations in Outreach award and it also was recognized by the World Health Organization’s International Safety Media Awards in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Joe McCullough

Boating Law Administrator • Alaska Office of Boating Safety

Joe moved to Alaska in 1992 after visiting for the summer and falling in love with the ocean and the mountains. He has worked for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for 26 years, starting out as a volunteer in Kachemak Bay State Park.Joe also worked as a park ranger in Anchor Point and on the Kenai River. He was hired as the Education Coordinator for the Alaska Boating Safety Program in 2002. In June he was promoted to Boating Law Administrator. 

Joe loves teaching and is a nationally certified boating safety instructor, NSBC boat control instructor trainer, Alaska Police Standards Council instructor and an American Canoe Association instructor.

Joe was the recipient of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators’ (NASBLA) Boating Safety Award in 2006 and NASBLA’s Educator of the Year Award in 2012. He graduated with a B.A. Degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Joe lives in Anchorage with his wife and daughter.

Dr. Jamila M. Porter

Director, Programs and Evaluation, Safe States Alliance

Dr. Jamila M. Porter is the Director of Programs and Evaluation at the Safe States Alliance – a national non-profit organization and professional association whose mission is to strengthen the practice of injury and violence prevention. Dr. Porter has worked in the fields of evaluation and injury and violence prevention practice for over 10 years, and provides senior-level strategic leadership and management of all of the association’s program, policy, and evaluation initiatives. Dr. Porter also provides evaluation-related technical assistance and training to practitioners at local, state, and national-level organizations. Her research – which has focused on program and policy evaluation, active transportation policy, and transportation-related injury – has been published in the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. Dr. Porter earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Health Policy & Administration from Wake Forest University, her Master of Public Health degree from Mercer University School of Medicine, and her Doctor of Public Health degree from The University of Georgia College of Public Health.

Tony Gomez

Public Health-Seattle & King County

Tony Gomez is the Manager of Violence and Injury Prevention at Public Health-Seattle and King County and is also a Clinical Faculty Instructor at the University of Washington in the School of Public Health.  Mr. Gomez has worked in the public health/injury prevention field for over 30 years and has published numerous papers on drowning prevention, firearm safety, traffic safety and other public health issues. He currently serves as an At-Large Member on the Safe States Alliance Executive Board and co-chairs the Policy Committee.  He established the Seattle-King County Traffic Safety Coalition in 1998 and still serves as Project Director. He co-established the Washington Statewide Drowning Prevention Network along leaders from Seattle Children's Hospital.

Elizabeth “Tizzy” Bennett

Director Community Health & Engagement

Elizabeth 'Tizzy' Bennett is the director of Community Health and Engagement at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Tizzy has led a number of drowning prevention and water safety programs for over 25 years including the Stay on Top of It campaign to increase life jacket use, Washington State Drowning Prevention Network, Everyone Swims, development of life jacket loaner programs and a multiyear statewide policy and systems change strategy. She has a Master's in Public Health and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist. 


Overview of the Public Health Approach & Injury Prevention
Webinar 1 will set the stage for this series, providing an overview of the Public Health Approach, Injury and Core Competencies. You must register to access.
Webinar 2: Defining the Problem & Identifying the Causes
This webinar focuses on defining the problem and identifying the causes related to recreational boating injury prevention. You must register to access.
Webinar 3 Develop & Test Prevention Strategies
This webinar focuses on developing and testing prevention strategies related to recreational boating injury prevention. You must register to access.
Webinar 4: Ensure Widespread Adoption
This webinar focuses on ensuring widespread adoption related to recreational boating injury prevention. You must register to access.