Profile Of A Leader In Boating-Safety Education
By Ed Huntsman
Have you attended any one of numerous boating-safety education events in the State of Arizona in the past 10 to 12 years or so? Run out of gas or had a mechanical problem on a lake in Arizona, or on the Colorado River and been towed to safety by the Coast Guard Auxiliary?
Completed a boating-safety education course or read one of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)-approved pieces of literature or information provided by any one of several organizations in Arizona?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any one of these questions, then the chances are excellent that you’ve met and talked with Ms. Kelley Fowke, Arizona Game and Fish Department’s boating-safety-education coordinator.
Fowke has been with the Arizona Game and Fish Department assigned to the boating-safety-education work unit for the past 10 years. This has given her the opportunity to talk with thousands of boaters from right here at home in Arizona as well as Nevada, California, and Utah.
A NASBLA-certified boating-safety instructor, she was one of the first boating course reviewers in the country to approve boating-safety education courses nationally. And, she continues in that role today — often called upon to help verify course content and delivery methods for courses offered to Arizona boaters.
If you’ve taken a boating-safety-education course, it was Fowke who recruited and trained your volunteer instructor and then made sure they had a location for the course and students in it. Not to mention supplies and the myriad of administrative support to ensure that all the information needed to verify your attendance made it into the record books.
Fowke is one of only six boating-safety educators in Arizona authorized by Utah’s Parks and Recreation Department to teach their personal watercraft course to teenagers and their parents for certification. Because of this, she is often spotted at boat shows in Southern California and other areas where out-of-state boaters who recreate on Arizona waterways can be contacted one-on-one.
Fowke notes that “A significant number of boating accidents occur on the Colorado River system where boaters from out of state don’t realize that they need to be aware of the rules, regulations and laws of the local jurisdiction, and on the Colorado River, that could be any one of up to 16 different law-enforcement agencies!”
While there may not be as many out-of-state boaters on Arizona’s inland waterways, many who water ski and fish also benefit from her efforts at boating-safety education in their areas as well.
In addition to her professional work with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Fowke is a member of the Power Squadron and has been an active boat coxswain in the Coast Guard Auxiliary for several years.
As a Qualification Examiner in the Coast Guard’s small-boat crew program, she routinely reviewed the abilities of Coast Guard auxiliarists working towards certification as qualified boat crew and coxswains for Coast Guard safety and harbor patrols in Arizona, Southern Nevada, Utah, and California.
If her work with the state and Auxiliary wasn’t enough to keep her busy, being an accomplished sailor as well as powerboat enthusiast, Fowke is also a past commodore with the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club headquartered in Phoenix.
So, the next time you pass by an Arizona Game and Fish Department boating- safety information booth, ask to meet Ms. Kelley Fowke and pick up a tip on better boating!