WASHINGTON – The National Marine Manufacturers Association recently appointed a task force targeted at bringing a level of standardization and efficiency to the restrictions on commercial hauling of boats from manufacturing plants to dealers, NMMA said in a press release yesterday.
The NMMA Transportation Task Force, which is comprised of boat builders, commercial boat haulers and recreational trailer manufacturers, was launched as part of a long-term effort to reduce regulatory hurdles that complicate and increase the cost of transporting recreational boats.
“This patchwork of state regulations creates an expensive nightmare for our industry,” said Monita W. Fontaine, NMMA vice president for government relations. “The time delays, fines and increased transportation costs directly impact the bottom line of boat manufacturers, haulers and dealers. We support laws that increase safety, but many of the most troublesome regulations seem to be arbitrary and obstructive.”
Task force members will provide information and participate in meetings to further build an understanding of the issues and to strategize to enact reforms. The task force also will play a role in NMMA’s grassroots networks by contacting state officials to bring the issues to their attention and voice the task force’s opinions.
Examples of the problems the industry faces
– Conflicting or inconsistent permitting procedures among the states: Transporters report having to take circuitous routes because they cannot get permits to cross state lines.
– Inconsistent length and width restrictions: A trend toward longer load lengths, coupled with the increased width of recreational vessels, has not been reflected in state regulations.
– Arbitrary or overly exacting enforcement: State regulations designate most boat transporters as specialized haulers, requiring special permits. Exacting enforcement and steep permit costs have made hauling across some states prohibitively expensive.
– Inconsistent or unreasonable width restrictions for trailers towed by boat owners: Recreational boat owners in Maryland towing boats wider than 96 inches must first travel on roads partially paid for with federal funds before traveling secondary roads in the state.
“Because our nation is trying to reduce our dependence on oil, we would like to think that the Task Force’s agenda will be supported by state bureaucracies,” Fontaine said. “But change is always difficult and we will be dealing with 50 different sets of laws. Improving those laws will be a long, but worthwhile, endeavor.”
For more information or to participate on the task force, please contact David Dickerson at (202) 737-9761; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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