Marine Trades Association roundup

In a conference call hosted by the Northwest Marine Trades Association, marine trade groups from around the country discussed highlights from the last year.

Marine trades associations from across the United States called in to the National Marine Trades Association’s spring conference call Tuesday. The following are highlights from the various updates provided by each group.

Northwest Marine Trades Association - In its 15th week, BoatPop, which mimics daily coupon sites like Groupon, delivers weekly deals to approximately 30,000 boaters in the region with a 40-percent minimum discount on boating products at area businesses. Association president George Harris said the venture has been an early success.

“It has turned into a nice new business for us, but we are still trying to figure out where we are going to go with it,” he said.

Southern California Marine Association - Dave Geoffroy, executive director of the association, told the group about a recent consumer event called MarinaFest held in Marina del Rey, Calif. At the event, dealers teamed up with area RV dealerships in a cross-promotion event that featured product from both industries. Geoffroy said the small, neighborhood-style MarinaFest also utilized gourmet food trucks to enhance the experience.

“We are trying to do other things to put boats in front of people, get used to the lifestyle, as opposed to a full-blown boat show,” Geoffroy said. “It is low cost to produce and gets pretty good participation.”

Marine Industries Association of South Florida - Patience Cohn, special program manager at the association, said its two-year-old tiered membership structure has been a major success. Termed “Anchor” membership, Cohn said members have the opportunity to pay increased member dues to take leadership roles in the association. In fact, 100 percent of year-one Anchor members renewed their membership in year two.

“They are empowered, and they seem to really invest their time, which we have had trouble with in the past, getting the people who need to be at the table, at the table” she said.

South Carolina Marine Association - Executive director Suzi DuRant said her state’s legislature has debated removing the state’s sales tax cap on automobiles and boats. In reaction, she said the association has aligned with local auto associations to prevent the removal of the $300 cap. DuRant did not believe the issue would be addressed in the current legislative session, however.

Massachusetts Marine Trades Association - Director Larry Russo said his state legislature has started to consider a sales tax cap on boat sales, which currently does not exist. It is a good sign, according to Russo, who said Massachusetts is especially vulnerable with neighboring Rhode Island and New Hampshire devoid of any sales tax on boats.

Wisconsin Marina Association - Jon Kukuk, the group’s chairman, said the association’s mission of certifying the state’s marinas through the Clean Marinas Program has been successful to date with 19 Wisconsin marinas now certified. As part of this effort, the association also created one common checklist for all marinas in Great Lake states that are looking to receive Clean Marina designation.

Also, marinas in Wisconsin that winterize boats cannot dump non-toxic antifreeze (propylene glycol) into the lake, per Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources regulation. Kukuk warned the Environmental Protection Agency might soon take a similar stance nationwide.

“It adds a lot to taking care of boats in the springtime,” he said.

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