Since the first citizen took to the water on a vessel for its enjoyment, the safety of recreational boating in America has evolved and will continue to be dependent on the faithful, diligent, and dedicated patrol of maritime law enforcement officers and maritime emergency responders on our lakes, rivers, bays, harbors, ports and shorelines. And in the aftermath of 9-11-01, the work of those watch men and women has become even more evident in the protection of our maritime critical infrastructure, our high value assets, and our transnational coastal borders.
We realize the vitality of our economy, the protection of our resources and the preservation of our shores is directly linked to and dependent on the security of our waterways, and the accomplishments of the professionals who make the water their workplace.
The United States has over 95,000 miles of tidal coastline, with over 12.5 million registered boats, and 84 million boaters plying those waters of our cities, our counties, our states, and our nation. Recreational boating comprises America’s largest fleet, dwarfing the total vessels in merchant shipping, commercial fishing, passenger traffic, the Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard. And amidst that sea of vessels something happens each and every moment of every day. Accidents, sinking boats, fires, boaters under the influence of alcohol, stolen vessels, human and drug traffickers, illegal migrants, security zone violators, and boaters in distress… it all happens on waterways, and we all rely on the people wearing the stars and shields to prevent the events from happening, protect our nation and its property, and respond when the call goes out.
For the first time, an organization is established to represent those professionals and provide them with the forum to share ideas, concepts, conversation and best practices, with resources and training that is unique and specific to their discipline, and a voice to be heard at the local, county, state and federal levels of government. The Maritime Professional Responders and Officers Association (Maritime PRO) will be that organization that provides the maritime law enforcement, military, and emergency responder community with a home. An organization that represents them as professionals individually and as a group - one that understands their dynamic world of work and speaks their language - one that listens to their needs and makes their voices heard.
Maritime PRO’s Board of Directors is made up of representatives from all segments of the maritime first responder community with a combined 260 years of service in disciplines ranging from the fire services to local, state and federal law enforcement.