The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced that District 41 Boating Officer Chester “Skeeter” Slagle has received the Boating Educator of the Year award by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
Officer Slagle has been a part-time boating officer for 15 years in TWRA’s District 41 in the Knoxville area of east Tennessee. This highly populated area is rich in public waterways including the Tennessee River as well as several large reservoirs like Norris and Douglas Lakes. Until recently, Knoxville, the third largest city in Tennessee, heavily lacked boating education opportunities for the area’s plentiful registered boaters. In fact, the greater Knoxville area annually produces the highest concentration of registered boaters in the state. Skeeter took this opportunity to coordinate with Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville and the Farragut Town Hall to offer regular boating education courses that are seeing an ever-increasing number of students.
Officer Slagle continually leads other state instructors in the number of students certified and annually teaches over 30 classes that certify nearly 600 students. In addition, he assists other boating education courses that certify another approximate 200 students. These efforts are above and beyond his regular boating enforcement duties, which include issuing citations, making arrests and assisting other officers in their duties. Skeeter also participates in numerous boating education outreach events and regularly speaks to hundreds of school students about general boating safety.
Betsy Woods, TWRA Boating Education coordinator said, “The area lakes around Knoxville consistently show boat registration numbers higher than any other area of the state and along with that comes the high number of students who need the boating education certification.
Skeeter’s efforts fulfill a tremendous need for boating education and many of his classes have over 100 students attending. He is an outstanding instructor and as anyone who knows Skeeter can agree, he definitely makes class fun and exciting for all.”