Photo: Ken Ripley accepts the 2008 Innovations in Technology Award from NASBLA President John Fetterman on behalf of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

During its 49th annual meeting, held in Clearwater Beach, Fla., Sept. 6-10, 2008, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) presented the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency with the first Innovations in Technology Award.

NASBLA in conjunction with its Mission Partner, Boat Ed, developed the Innovations in Technology Award to recognize programs or initiatives that demonstrate the highest level of innovation leading to advances in boating safety.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) received the 2008 award for their "Report Beam" boat accident reporting system. Officers take notes at the scene of an accident, then input the six-page report on the Report Beam software application. Report Beam has an interactive diagramming feature that lets officers show the positions of boats, passengers, trajectories, speeds, images from Google Earth and more. The report is uploaded to the TWRA database that day, from the scene of the accident or anywhere officers can access the Internet.

Use of the technology provides consistency, a more professional report, and speeds the reporting process. The new format ensures the integrity of the report and makes copies instantly available to courts, the U.S. Coast Guard and other interested parties without days of searching or duplicating.

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.