KDWPT’s Dan Hesket recognized for boating safety work

Major Dan Hesket, Law Enforcement Division assistant director for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT), was awarded the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators’ (NASBLA) Bonner Award on September 15. The prestigious award was presented to Hesket during the 56th Annual NASBLA Conference, held in Wichita, Sept. 13-16.

Hesket has worked in the KDWPT’s Law Enforcement Division for 26 years and became a leader in the boating safety field while working at Wilson Reservoir early in his career. There, he worked with the local marina and boat businesses to promote safe boating and compliance of boating laws. Hesket produced several boating safety programs and created the first public hands-on personal watercraft course, which is still in use today. Hesket also developed an officer training course, laying the groundwork for the use of the personal watercraft in boating law enforcement.

In 1992, Hesket was promoted to a boating enforcement specialist position stationed near Wichita. In that capacity, he worked closely with KDWPT’s then boating law administrator, Jeff Gayer, to strengthen the boating under the influence (BUI) laws and get department personnel trained in Standard Field Sobriety Testing procedures. He wrote the BUI check-lane procedure manual in 1994 and took the lead in BUI detection efforts.

In 2002, Hesket was promoted to assistant director in charge of the Law Enforcement Boating Program, and he immediately began work to improve the image of the recreational boating program. In 2004, Hesket became the state’s boating law administrator. That same year, he carried a bill to the Kansas Legislature, proposing extensive amendments to boating-related statutes and succeeded in getting the majority of them passed unscathed.

The Bonner Award is a tribute to congressman Herbert C. Bonner of North Carolina, father of the Federal Boating Act of 1958. The award is presented to a government official for outstanding performance in the field of recreational boating safety. Any representative of state or federal government in active service or retired (living at the time of selection) is eligible for the award.

NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety, representing recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. To learn more about how NASBLA helps keep our waterways safe, secure and enjoyable, visit