Search and rescue, boating safety enforcement and boating safety education are just some of the responsibilities of the Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division boating officers. The Division recently selected Ranger First Class Mark Stephens as the 2010 Georgia Boating Officer of the Year for his outstanding performance as a boating safety officer on Lake Lanier.
“RFC Mark Stephens performed exceptionally well in all areas of boating safety in 2009,” says Acting chief of law enforcement Col. Homer Bryson. “It is obvious that the education and safety of Georgia’s boating public is at the top of his list.”
As a boating safety officer on Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River, one of the busiest and biggest areas in the state, Mark Stephens has to be ready at a moment’s notice to go into action. For example, while out on patrol on the Chattahoochee – his quick response saved the life of a swimmer in distress. For this particular effort, Stephens was nominated for the Peace Officers Association of Georgia’s 2009 Valor Award.
In addition, Stephens also concentrated on boating safety education. During the year, he presented 22 boating safety programs to various groups and instructed three boater education courses. Stephens responded to more than 90 calls for service and performed 17 on-water search and rescues on Lanier. He also made efforts to make contact with all marinas on and around Lanier to inform them on the new boating registration system so they could better help their customers.
Stephens will receive recognition from the Southern States Boating Law Administrators Association this spring, and will be a candidate for the SSBLAA and the National State Boating Law Administrators Butch Potts Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year honors.
Additional rangers nominated for the award by their supervisors for their outstanding work in 2009 are as follows: RFC Bart Hendrix, RFC Robert Timmerman, RFC Chad Welch, RFC Chase Altman and RFC Mark Carson.
For more information on the 2010 Georgia Boating Officer of the Year Award, call the Division law enforcement headquarters office at (770) 918-6408.