Inflatable boat builders form association

CHICAGO - The Inflatable Boat Manufacturers Association, an affiliate of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, formed and met for the first time during the Miami International Boat Show in February, NMMA reported in a recent statement.

The inaugural IBMA meeting took place on Sat., Feb. 18, with the following charter members of the inflatable boat industry in attendance: George Dherlin and Roger Dherlin, APEX Inflatables; Doug Armstrong and Danila Richards, Rendova Boats; Dirk Boehmer and Paul Roberts, Walker Bay Boats; Robert Collada and Frank Wright, Novurania; Domenico Fossati, Caribe Inflatables USA; Jeffrey Frank and Chad Stellwagen, Achilles Inflatable Craft; JJ. Marie and Howard French, Zodiac of North America; Ivor Heyer, AB Marine Group; K. “Conny” Kilmenko, Sevylor Inc.; Alan Morgan, AVON Inflatables Limited; Larry Piechocki, Mercury Marine Inflatable Boat Group; Erika Terrosa, Inflatable Boats magazine; and John Quinn, Haber & Quinn Public Relations & Marketing. Also attending the meeting were NMMA's Thom Dammrich and Bernice McArdle.

During the meeting, the group discussed its three main objectives for IBMA: providing a unified voice for inflatables; insuring appropriate representation of inflatables in the Grow Boating campaign, both RIBs and inflatables; and developing improved statistics on the inflatable market by encouraging everyone to report sales figures to NMMA.

In addition, IBMA will work closely with the NMMA CSI Program to redesign CSI requirements for the inflatable market, create a buyers guide and educational brochure to raise awareness of inflatables among the boating public, develop a set of standard warning labels and seek representation on legislative and regulatory issues affecting inflatable manufactures and users.

“By bringing the inflatable boat manufacturers together, we want to raise the visibility of this segment of the boating industry, create better statistics, become more proactive on legislative, regulatory and safety issues and contribute fully to the mission of NMMA and Grow Boating,” said George Dherlin, IBMA chairman. “We invite all manufacturers of inflatables and RIBs and their suppliers to join the IBMA.”

Membership in the group is currently open to any inflatable boat manufacturer that is also a member of NMMA. There will also be an associate member category in IBMA for suppliers to inflatable manufacturers. IBMA will hold two member meetings per year, one in February at the Miami International Boat Show and another at the International BoatBuilders' Conference and Exhibition (IBEX) in October.

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