Kim Elverum, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) boat and water safety coordinator, is retiring effective Friday, May 31, following a 41-year career helping to make recreational boating safer. Elverum, 65, is the longest-serving state boating law administrator in the nation. "We will never know the number of lives saved as a result of the many years of work that Kim did with our boat and water safety program, but it is likely substantial," said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "He has had a profound impact in creating a safety culture around boating in the state." Elverum's DNR career began in forestry in 1971. A few years later, he was transferred to boating safety. He set up a new watercraft operator's permit program for teenagers, wrote the boating education manual and put in place a process for issuing permits. He trained numerous DNR officers and county sheriff's deputies and talked to hundreds of boating groups about boating safety. He oversaw public outreach efforts and worked with DNR and county officers on water enforcement and training in areas including accident investigations. Elverum played a key role in the state's enactment of the first comprehensive boating while intoxicated law (BWI) and the state's first law on personal watercraft. Under his watch, Minnesota's boating fatalities fell from 56 in 1975 to 15 in 2012, or about one-third the national rate. "One of our greatest accomplishments was educating the public on responsible boating and water safety," Elverum said. "Ultimately, we made an impact. However, one fatality is one too many and we continue to work to lower that number." This month, Elverum was selected for induction into the National Safe Boating Council's Boating Safety Hall of Fame. As the 39th inductee, he joins the ranks of other leaders who made a significant national impact in boating safety. "We will miss Kim's knowledge and experience to help us get the job done," said Virgil Chambers, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. "We hope we learned enough from him to continue with the ideas and convictions he worked so hard to advance." Elverum has been awarded the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award for his "exceptional efforts promoting recreational boating safety education and innovative high-impact social media programs nationwide." He served on and was chairman of a number of national boating safety boards and councils, including the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators where he served on the board and as president. Stan Linnell, a 28-year employee of the DNR, is assuming Elverum's job duties. Linnell has held a number of posts, including manager of planning, acquisition and development for the Parks and Trails Division.
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