MRAA: Delaware ‘Right to Repair’ Bill to exempt marine equipment

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and the Coalition Opposed to Illegal Tampering have made progress in Delaware after meeting with state legislators to inform them of the potential harms right to repair legislation could have on marine and related industries. An amendment to the bill, filed by Rep. Valerie Longhurst, will exempt marine equpment from potentilaly hazardous right to repair legislation.

Right to repair legislation, which has been introduced throughout the country, would allow independent repair providers, whether individuals or businesses, the same access to the firmware, source codes, and other proprietary information and tools needed for repair as authorized repair providers. While MRAA and the Coalition Opposed to Illegal Tampering support repairs done by owners, we recognize the inherent safety and environmental implications making this information available to unauthorized or “independent” repair providers.

Unamended, the Delaware Digital Right to Repair Act (House Bill 22) introduced by Rep. Briggs King, would allow uncertificated technicians and users to access the source code of marine engines, electronics, and additional products like farm and forestry equipment. As originally written, this legislation was intended to provide users and owners of computers, cell phones, and other electronics the ability to make repairs without the need of authorized repair providers and even went as far to exempt motor vehicles. However, due to the non-specific language of the bill, it would expand those allowances to marine technology, farm equipment, medical devices, and more. To minimize the safety and environmental implications an amendment offered by Rep. Longhurst would exempt “manufacturers, distributors, importers, or dealers of all off-road (non-road) equipment,” which includes marine equpment.

“On behalf of MRAA and the marine industry at large, we would like to thank Representative Longhurst for the introduction of the amendment,” said Chad Tokowicz, government relations manager for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. “We appreciate Representative Longhurst’s leadership and understanding that if left unchecked, this legislation could have serious environmental and safety implications for boat users and our dealers.”

As right-to-repair legislation continues to surface throughout the country, the MRAA and the Coalition Opposed to Illegal Tampering continue to monitor these bills and educate key members of state legislatures on the environmental and safety implications for the marine and related industries. Changes to exempt the marine sector are also critical as certified technicians, like those who receive training through the American Boating and Yacht Council, provide a high skilled labor force for our members and dealers to consistently deliver quality repairs and service.

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