Presentation To Southeastern Association Of Game & Fish Commissioners

Gentlemen: Certainly, most of you are aware that the State of Mississip'pi is one of the few states that has created a separate state agency charged with the sole function of Boat and Water Safety Administration, I am sure that many of you are expecting me to have some dramatic spill as to the advantages of this individuality, I don't intend to dwell on that. I address my remarks about our organization, its operations, effectiveness, cost, and impact on the boating public, In so doing I will talk about both advantages and disadvantages of administering water safety. You must draw your own conclusions as to whether it should be administered by a department of Conservation or not. First let's look at boating law enforcement Should the law be enforced by conservation officers? No one has ever resolved this question and I doubt that they ever wilL What difference does it make if the enforcement officer is called Conservation, Marine Police, State Trooper, Water Patrolman, or whatever? It is the law itself, the training of the officer to execute that law, the assignment of that officer to the enforcement of that law, the willingness of those in authority to accept the responsibility of that law, the willingness of all those concerned to recognize the importance of that law, and the desire to fully cooperate with those held responsible for the effectiveness of that law, I do not believe that it makes one bit of difference what the officer's title is or what agency he is employed by. What about education programs administered by conservation departments? Our experience has shown that it is virtually impossible to conduct an effective water safety educational program during the summer or boating seasons. The days are long, hot, and a water outing is extremely inviting, The boating enthusiast is not about to participate in an educational session when he could be enjoying his hobby, With this experience in mind, we direct most of our efforts to enforcement during the boating season, which in some cases will inspire better participation in education programs, During the winter months, our enforcement officers suddenly become educational instructors, civic club speakers, and water safety program chairmen, in addition to their regular assigned duties of enforcement.

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