With the close of 2011, I want to take a moment to thank all Division of Watercraft employees for their continued commitment to providing Ohio's boaters with quality customer service and programs. From the front-desk staff providing registrations, to the officers on the water, to the support staff and management behind the scenes, the Division continues to shine as a result of everyone's team efforts. Looking forward to 2012, we can expect additional challenges -- and opportunities -- in the year ahead.
With a record number of more than 426,000 registered boats in 2011, Ohio continues to rank 9th in the country with regard to registered vessels. In addition to a wide variety of beautiful boating venues that offer diverse boating opportunities, Ohio also boasts a spectacular group of employees and volunteers who work with private instructors and individuals to teach boaters the necessary skills to stay safe on the water. The Division will continue to focus its efforts in the coming year on promoting education, the importance of wearing a life jacket, and staying sober while on the water.
The Division will ensure that our watercraft officers, who have dedicated themselves to serving Ohio's boating public, are thoroughly trained and adequately prepared to enforce state boating laws, investigate boating accidents, and participate in emergency response and evacuation efforts when requested. They also will assist with homeland security duties, all in order to provide a safe and enjoyable boating experience for all. Additionally, we will continue to partner with federal, state, and local agencies to augment officer presence and effectiveness on Ohio waterways.
The Division will turn its focus inward in the coming year to consider improvements to our management practices. To ensure that our services to the public remain at the highest level of quality, we also will examine closely areas within the Division to determine what needs attention and focus our efforts on continuous improvement.
Finally, we will continue to explore innovative ways to maintain sufficient staffing levels so that we can continue to ensure the quality customer service, education, and conscientious management that the boaters of Ohio have come to expect from the Division of Watercraft.
Rodger M. Norcross, Chief
ODNR Division of Watercraft