Texas Game Warden Recognized as the 2022 National Association of State Boating Law Administrators Texas Boating Officer of the Year

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AUSTIN — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Executive Director Carter Smith recognized Game Warden Ben Echelson at Thursday’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting.

Echelson was named the 2022 National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Texas Boating Officer of the Year.

NASBLA awards the Marvin “Butch” Potts Memorial Award, known as the Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, annually to officers who make outstanding contributions to the field of boating law enforcement.

“Ben is an astute investigator with a history of important investigations under his belt,” Smith said. “He is a positive role model for his community and the ideal embodiment of the expertise, professionalism and acuity our Texas Game Wardens are known for.”

A game warden for seven years and member of TPWD’s STORM forensics accident reconstruction team, Echelson received a promotion to sergeant in April. Prior to promotion, he served Travis County, an area dotted with significant waterbodies including Lake Travis. While there, he led investigations that resulted in felony indictments and conducted a number of rescue and recovery operations for victims of boating accidents.

In 2020, for example, he rescued two victims from a capsized boat, and in 2021, rescued multiple occupants, including two children, from a vessel taking on water near Devil’s Cove on Lake Travis.

He has also worked to increase boater safety, recording bilingual public service announcements to improve safety awareness before busy holiday weekends and participating in National Night Out events providing boater education across the country.

“Receiving a NASBLA Boating Officer of the Year Award marks one of the highest achievements for a boating officer,” said Texas Game Wardens Colonel Chad Jones. “We are pleased that Ben has received this recognition, and proud of his diligent work to protect the health and safety of those who enjoy Texas waterways.”

NASBLA works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety, representing the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.