NAME: June Iljana
JOB TITLE: Public Information Officer, Department of Boating and Waterways
Capitol Weekly: Name one adjective that describes your job.
June Iljana: Fun. I used to work for the Department of Toxic Substances
Control, which is about as fun as it sounds. I wanted to do something people
want to hear about. And in general my job is about vacationing and having
fun. I came to the Department of Boating and Waterways a year and a half
ago. I mostly work on proactive media outreach. My focus is generally on
boating-safety education. But my job is to get people to be safer and still
enjoy the water.
CW: We understand you recently appeared on KCRA Channel 3 demonstrating the
proper use of life jackets. How was that experience?
JI: It was National Safe Boating Week and we were promoting a children’s
life-jacket exchange that day. I brought all kinds of life jackets and put a
suspender-style self-inflating life jacket on Walt Gray. It’s the newest
kind of life jacket and they’re really comfortable. You can cast a line and
fish in them easily. I brought my 8-year-old son to show how to fit a life
jacket to a child. It was 5:20 in the morning but he wanted to do it [the
show]–he was so excited. I also brought my little puppy in her life jacket
for the cuteness factor.
CW: What life path led you to where you are now?
JI: I’ve always worked in public affairs in some way. I was a military
journalist for nine years for the National Guard and I just loved that. But
I got out of the military completely to be a mom. Then I started a parent
magazine on the Central Coast, I got to stay active and have fun while
staying home with my son, which was terrific. When my husband was
transferred back to Sacramento, I sold the magazine and came to work for the
state. It was hard to adjust because the atmosphere is very different from
what I was used to. Like there are some rules in state service that I can
hardly believe exist. And I don’t think I have become everyone’s image of a
CW: What is the most pressing safety issue on the waterways today?
JI: We could save a lot of lives, children and adult, if we could convince
people to wear a life jacket, but it’s an uphill battle–especially with
adults. They know, for the most part, that they need to put it on their
children, but won’t wear on themselves. People think it’s not going to be
comfortable. They worry about it being unattractive and don’t want to have a
life jacket tan like a farmer’s tan. But 85 percent of boating fatalities
could have been prevented by wearing a life jacket.
We are also battling the “beer and boats” synergism so many people kind of
perceive. Drinking and boating do not go together–penalties for drinking and
boating can be the same for drinking and driving.
CW: Any suggestions for how working professionals can trade in their suits
for some fun on the water this summer?
JI: Go power boating, fishing, sailing, skiing, wake boarding, kayaking,
rafting or whatever you think is fun. We provide safety tips for each of
these activities and free boating trail guides to many California waterways,
which will help you plan your trip and find the resources you’ll need. You
can get them from our Web site at http://dbw.ca.gov/boatsmarter/tips.html.