FWC Officer Specialist Nicole Basford named 2022 Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year

Operation Dry Water honoree
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Specialist Nicole Basford is the 2022 Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year (FWC photo)

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators has selected Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Specialist Nicole Basford as the 2022 Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year.

Officer Specialist Basford currently serves in Bay County and is a 10-year veteran of conservation law enforcement. Her interest and capability for Boating Under the Influence enforcement began early in her career.

Her many accomplishments include 58 BUI/DUI cases, mentoring countless officers and investigators regarding BUI enforcement, training new officers and leading targeted BUI enforcement details. In addition to her patrol duties, Basford is a BUI instructor at the FWC Academy and teaches BUI curriculum in the Northwest Region and for partner agencies.

“Officer Specialist Basford is a tremendous asset to not only FWC officers in our region, but to partner agencies across the Panhandle,” said Northwest Regional Commander Fred Rondeau. “Her enthusiasm and dedication for BUI enforcement is contagious and we’ve seen her influence make a difference.”

Basford was instrumental in establishing a BUI Task Force in the Panama City area. The task force focused an intensified effort to detect intoxicated boaters, enforce BUI laws and make arrests pertaining to alcohol and drug-related offenses. Since the BUI Task Force’s inception in 2019, Basford has led the team with the most BUI arrests. The success of the task force is due in large part to Basford’s leadership and passion for enforcing BUI violations and public safety.

“This prestigious national award is well-deserved recognition for Officer Specialist Basford’s dedication to keeping Florida’s waters safe for residents and visitors,” said FWC Boating and Waterways Section Leader Maj. Rob Beaton. “She has distinguished herself through her efforts and teamwork, and we couldn’t be more pleased that one of our own has been chosen as this year’s Operation Dry Water Officer of the Year.”

NASBLA presented the award to Basford at the 2022 NASBLA Annual Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 29.

The FWC reminds all boaters on the water to enjoy time with friends and family but do so safely and don’t forget to designate a sober operator before departing from the dock.

For more information about boating safety, visit MyFWC.com/boating/.

About Operation Dry Water

Over the July Fourth holiday weekend, law enforcement officers and agencies across the United States were on the water educating boaters on safe boating practices as part of the annual Operation Dry Water weekend, July 2-4. Operation Dry Water is a national awareness and enforcement campaign focused on reducing the number of alcohol- and drug-related incidents and fatalities on the water. Officers are on heightened alert looking for those in violation of boating under the influence laws. The month of July sees the highest total number of recreational boating incidents nationally.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater fatalities and a leading factor in recreational boating incidents. Law enforcement agencies from all 56 U.S. states and territories participated in Operation Dry Water. These agencies focus their efforts on detecting impaired boaters, removing them from our nation’s waterways and educating the public about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Since the launch of the Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, 5,320 impaired operators have been removed from our nation’s waterways, preventing dangerous and potentially tragic consequences. Officers have also made contact with over 2.2 million boaters during the annual three-day weekend as part of the outreach campaign. In 2021, 575 agencies from every state and territory participated in Operation Dry Water.