North Fork man named boating educator of the year

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Len Llewellyn of Mattituck has won a regional award as the "boating educator of the year."

Leonard Llewellyn, who has taught safe boating courses for both the United States Coast Guard and the U.S. Power Squadrons, will be honored Monday by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators as its northern regional boating educator of the year.

Such celebrations are becoming commonplace. In the spring of 2010, Mr. Llewellyn was honored for 50 years of volunteer service with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and the state Marine Services Bureau. And last year, the Peconic Bay Power Squadron celebrated Mr. Llewellyn’s service with a party at the Soundview Restaurant in Greenport.

As part of his selection as northern regional boat educator of the year, Mr. Llewellyn was invited to the NASBLA convention as the organization’s guest in Milwaukee in September, but was unable to attend.

The avid boater has handled everything from rowboats and power boats to sailboats and said he continues to learn as much from his students as they do from him.

Through his years of teaching boating safety, the coursework has grown beyond the basics to include personal watercraft, invasive species and hypothermia, he said.

“When I started out, I never really thought I’d be doing it for 50 years,” Mr. Llewellyn said when he talked about his work at the time of his first award. He estimated that he has trained more than 1,000 youths.

Ro Woodward, Marine Services Bureau education specialist, attested to Mr. Llewellyn’s staying power. Of the 700 currently active instructors, over 400 have been doing the job only since 2005, she said.

“He is definitely the last of the original crop,” Ms. Woodward said. “He’s kind of got his finger on the pulse out there.”

While most of Mr. Llewellyn’s courses have been for pre-teens, he’s open to training adults in safe boating practices.

But he said the young people he works with are generally more receptive.

“Their minds are like sponges,” he said.

Mr. Llewellyn has also recruited many other trainers through the Peconic Bay Power Squadron.

When he’s not training young boaters, he’s often at home scanning his weather forecasting equipment or listening to police and fire calls. Mr. Llewellyn is a local weather watcher for the National Weather Service in Upton, to which he sends data on North Fork conditions, and an active member of the Mattituck Fire Department.

A former Plum Island employee, he owned a fire extinguisher service company until his retirement a year ago.

He has been a lifelong member of Suffolk County Fire Educators, a charter member and former president of the North Fork Fire Police Association and a past president of the North Fork Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

His latest award will be presented at the Southold Town Recreation Center on Peconic Lane on Monday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m.

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