CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Wednesday that the boating safety educator of the year has over 15 years of experience and teaches courses in both English and Spanish.
Henry Cespedes of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary's Flotilla 67 in Coral Gables was named as Florida's 2013 Boating Educator of the Year, an award that recognizes those in the boating education field who go above and beyond their job by volunteering to engage new and current boaters, raise awareness and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.
"All of the nominees demonstrated an outstanding commitment to boating safety," said Capt. Tom Shipp, leader of the FWC's boating safety unit. "But we were particularly impressed with the time Henry spent volunteering and the number of boaters he reached."
Cespedes was presented last month with the award at the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's District 7 annual conference.
"In addition to teaching and coordinating classes in English, Henry provides them in Spanish as well," Shipp said. "Many of the students may speak English but are more comfortable learning in Spanish. This has been valuable in creating an effective learning environment and safer boaters on the water."
Cespedes volunteered nearly two dozen of his Saturdays last year to teach boating safety classes and perform other volunteer duties with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the commission said, reaching over 600 boaters.
"Henry provides a valuable service to the recreational boating community in Miami and beyond," Shipp said. "His passion for boating safety education and the impact he has made in the southeast Florida area - one of the busiest recreational boating areas in the world - has undoubtedly made the waterways safer."
Cespedes was also named the Regional Boating Educator for the southern states by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, making him the first educator in Florida to receive this award. He was honored in September at the annual conference in Boise, Idaho.
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