The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators had its annual conference this week.
The national non-profit presented awards to exceptional boating safety professionals. The award for national boating officer of the year was presented to Klamath County Sheriff’s Department’s own Cpl. Daren Krag.
NASBLA describes the award as a symbol of, “the highest level of achievement among boating law enforcement officers in the U.S.”
NASBLA flew Krag and the two other regional winners to Anchorage, Alaska, for the conference. Krag said he was excited for the opportunity to meet the other two winners and visit Alaska, but didn’t expect to win the national award.
“I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting that at all,” he said.
Krag is the first person from Oregon to win the award.
“That was amazing to be able to represent my state and my county,” he said.
“Cpl Krag’s positive contributions to the Oregon marine community are unsurpassable. Klamath County comprises 96,034 acres of water, including Oregon’s largest lake, or about 12% of Oregon’s boatable waterways,” NASBLA said in a press release.
“It comes with no denial, Cpl. Krag’s valor, pride and ability to remain consistent in enforcing the law, while respecting the public boaters, is truly a gift,” the release said.
Krag has been in marine patrol for 12 years, patrolling the water in the bustling summer months as well as the freezing cold months. He also teaches boating safety in classrooms and safety fairs and investigates Oregon boating accidents that resulted in fatalities.
“He goes out there and gives it 110 percent every day. He truly cares about everyone on the water,” said Ashley Massey of the Oregon State Marine Board.
“He’s really good at creating a community of conscientious boaters out there and that’s what makes him so special,” Massey said.
Krag works with a team of 10 to 15 volunteers. His team completed 2,368 total patrol hours in 2018, according to a NASBLA release. Krag completed 798 patrol hours alone.
Krag also completed over 72 hours of boating safety instruction, reaching 1,732 students.
“Make sure that everybody understands that it wasn’t about me,” Krag implored H&N. “It was my team, my family, friends and everybody that helped make this happen. So it’s all about the guys, small boat rescue, my wife of 28 years and my family,” he said.
“I’m just extremely proud of him, his dedication and hard work. All of us as a family are extremely proud,” Krag’s wife, Robin, said.
After over a decade of marine patrol, Krag hopes to take his passion for serving the community from the water to the shore. He is running for sheriff in the coming election.