August 2017   
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay...

Hello MRA Members and Associates,
I am sitting on the deck of my floating home watching the boats make their way up the Oakland Estuary on a beautiful August afternoon. The gentle motion and reflections soothe me - as they always do. This scene reminds me how essential water is to all of us. We depend on it-without it, we could only survive a few days. But it is also who we are. Our bodies contain about 60% water. And it makes up much of our home, covering over 70% of the earth's surface.

Water inspires art, music and poetry. It gives us sustenance. Most of the great cities rose up on its shores. It warms and cools our planet. When it falls down as rain or snow it gives life to plants, trees and our food. Sometimes there may be too little of it and sometimes too much. But without it, nothing grows.

We in the marine business are honored to earn our living from it. Our customers and clients experience some of their greatest joys from it. So we should be, and usually are, motivated to be good stewards of this precious resource. In support of this, recent studies show that water quality and marine life actually benefit from well-planned marina development. Of course, we can do better. We need to educate ourselves to maintain even cleaner marinas and boatyards. We need to support measures and technology which are well-founded in science and we need to push to change proposals which arise from misconceptions.

This need to learn and improve is what brought me to MRA. The annual conference coming up in October, the Regional Training sessions, the articles in the monthly newsletters and the sharing of information with other MRA members fill an important need: to make us better so that we can better serve our customers, improve our efficiency and professionalism, and serve our duty to better care for the waters we all depend on. 

On this late August afternoon,I feel lucky to live on the water. I wish that more people, particularly in housing constrained markets like the San Francisco Bay Area, could experience this lifestyle as well. I do believe this: living on the water would have a positive impact on the housing supply, at a lower cost and with fewer environmental impacts than building new sub-divisions.

For all of us, whether we earn our living from the water, live on the water or experience the joys of boating, let us embrace our duty by educating ourselves, educating others, exchanging information and getting involved. If we don't do it, who will? 

Steve Meckfessel
Just Weeks to Go and Another Legislative Year Ends...

Department of Parks and Recreation Transformation Plan
As of the writing of this article, it is mid-August and we are waiting cautiously for the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to release their final "Transition Plan" that will impact the future of the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW).

A little background is in order:  A couple years ago the DPR embarked on an effort to bring its organization "into the 21st Century."  It is a very old department that has expanded and had pieces added onto it over the decades, include the "Department" of Boating and Waterways to become the "Division" of Boating and Waterways.  This extensive process of modernization is probably necessary, but we are very concerned that the value and identity of DBW will be lost in the process.

Since the early 1990s the boating community, and our firm, The Apex Group, have worked to protect the Department of Boating and Waterways and its programs from countless attacks.  DBW is funded from boaters' dollars through the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund (HWRF), and when the State runs low on cash they look to this fund for help.  They have gone directly after the money and attempted to eliminate DBW to sweep the money on many occasions.  It has been a constant effort for decades and finally a few years ago they were successful with merging the Department into Park, making it a division.

The fear at the time of the merger was that once DBW is under the control of the DPR we would start to see DBW "disappear" into the DPR.  It is for that reason that, at the time of the merger, we fought very hard to keep it a division rather than see the individual programs absorbed, to maintain the Boating and Waterways Commission, and preserve as much of its independence as we could.  We did this because we knew the more independent the DBW the more the boating expertise housed in the division would stay intact, and the harder it would be to get at the money.

We are now at a critical junction in the future of DBW.  The DPR is engaged in this transformation process and there are rumors they want to fold some or all DBW functions into Parks.  We have been in regular contact with Parks to stress how important the autonomy of DBW is to the health of boating in the State of California.  However, it is still unclear what the DPR will propose in the plan.

The DPR is expected to release the "transition plan" any time that will include the specific details of the changes.  That plan was expected late last year and has been delayed several times, which I choose to see as good news.  If it is delayed, then maybe they are taking our input and the input of others seriously, and if they are taking it seriously then we are confident they will agree that DBW should remain independent.

This has been a project all year and will continue to be a priority as the rest of the year unfolds.  I would like to thank the members of the various associations we represent for all their help.  While I spend my time advocating in Sacramento, your members provide me very good input and have always been willing to come to meetings in Sacramento to "fly the flag," and that effort is critical if we are to be successful.

The outcome of this issue should be known before my comprehensive annual report, which I complete in early October.  I will, of course, report on this important issue in that report as well.

Transportation Funding / DBW Impact
California passed the most comprehensive tax increase for transportation funding in decades.  This new legislation will result in about $5 billion annually for transportation infrastructure.  For many years, it has been known that the cost to maintain our streets and roads has outstripped the revenue coming in from the gas tax and other sources.  For the last couple years, there has been a major effort to get a funding plan passed through the Legislature.  This year they were finally successful.  Passing tax increases is always a challenge, but this issue is particularly thorny because of its complexity and the various political dynamics affecting legislative districts across the state.  I won't bore you with the details, but it was a herculean effort by the interest groups, the Senate and Assembly leadership, and the Governor to get this done.

So why do we care about this?  Well, the gas tax paid by boaters is the primary funding source for the HWRF, which is the funding source for the vast majority of boating programs.  It was our position that if the gas tax was going to be raised, which means gas tax paid by boaters would also go up, then the HWRF should get its fair share of the increase.  Unfortunately, the Chairman of the Transportation Committee, and the author of the bill, did not think we should get the increase, but rather this new money should be "redirected" to fund more street and road repair. We, of course, think if we are going to pay we should get the benefit.

As noted before, this was a complex debate with a lot of moving parts, but in the end, we were able to get the bill amended to protect the money.  We would have preferred that it was fully protected, but the compromise outcome was that the money would go to the DPR to be use for "parks, boating or off- highway vehicle (OHV) programs."  The OHV language was put in because OHV also gets money for the gas tax and were due the increase.

Under this arrangement the DPR will have discretion that may be good for us in some years, and not-so-good in others, but the great news is we protected this new money from disappearing forever, and if we can demonstrate a need for the funding, we have a chance at getting it in the future.

Given the challenges of this issue and the "big" politics involved, I count this a huge victory and at the end of the day there are tens of millions of new dollars that are up for grabs!

There were several bills that we supported or opposed, but given the space constraints I will report on those in my annual report.Suffice it to say, on the legislative front, we had a pretty good far!

For the fourth year in a row the MRA will begin their three day Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show with the popular and informative "Introduction to Basic Marina Operations" seminar, focused on developing the best management practices for new marine industry professionals.

This special one-day, two-session, seminar on Monday, October 23rd, is being offered to all marine industry professionals (members and non-members) at a rate of only $89 / person, and will include lunch and an invitation to the 2017 MRA Conference Welcome Reception in the Trade Show pavilion Monday night.

Both seminar sessions will focus on industry 'Best Management Practices' being utilized today to effectively enhance marina and boatyard operations, safety, customer service, and fiscal results. 
  • Introduction to Basic Marina Operations - Policies & Practices:
(Monday, October 23, 9:45 am to Noon) Are your customer service, wharfage, and risk management policies and practices optimizing your marine operations and results? This session, led by Jeremy Grewal and Tony Reese from Safe Harbor Marinas will discuss administrative practices that are designed to keep your marina and boatyard running smoothly, and enhance your risk management. How can your operations integrate effective leasing, contract, and risk management practices to save you time and money, and create a positive customer service experience for your boaters?  
  • Introduction to Basic Marina Operations - Safety & Maintenance:
(Monday, October 23, 1:00 pm - 3 pm) Are you effectively inspecting your operations, and identifying safety concerns to manage and minimize risk? In the afternoon session, Larry Halgren, CMP, from Halgren & Associates, will introduce new managers and staff to effective and efficient facility inspection practices designed to identify critical safety and maintenance issues in boatyards and marinas. Developing a critical Emergency Management Plan for your marine operations to deal with events such as fires, flood, earthquakes, tsunamis, medical situations, and other potential catastrophes will also be discussed. How can you improve the safety and functions of your marine operations, and enhance customer satisfaction?
The "Introduction to Basic Marina Operations" seminar is a great opportunity for marina and boatyard professionals to take advantage of more than 60 years of accumulated marine industry management experience by our presenters. Each session will provide time for questions and answers at the end.

for the "Introduction to Basic Marina Operations" seminar at:

The 2017, 46th Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show will run for three days (October 23 - 25) with more than thirty educational seminars and special presentations, a keynote speech by Gary Griggs, Distinguished Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, and an expansive Trade Show featuring more than fifty industry vendors and services . . . all taking place at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa, in Monterey, California.

Special hotel rates at the Hyatt are still available for attendees from October 20th to the 27th, but expected to sell out soon!

Gary Griggs is a Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he also served as Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences for 26 years, until this past July.

Griggs joined the UCSC faculty in 1968 and is an expert on coastal geology, shoreline processes, geologic hazards, and the impact of rising sea level. He is an author or coauthor of ten books, including Living with the Changing California Coast, and Our Ocean Backyard, a collection of essays from a column he has been writing for the Santa Cruz Sentinel for the past nine years. The California Coastal Commission and Sunset magazine named him one of California's Coastal Heroes in 2009.

Established in 1976, the Institute of Marine Sciences supports a diverse range of research focused on marine biology, coastal ecology, fisheries and fishery management, ocean processes, marine toxicology, and marine geology. IMS researchers have earned international recognition as experts on coastal ecosystems, marine protected areas, algal blooms, climate change, sea level rise, and other topics.

The integration of coastal science and policy was envisioned years ago by Professor Griggs, and has led to a growing emphasis on developing the science needed to address marine and coastal policy issues.

Gary Griggs keynote presentation will begin around 10:30 am on Tuesday, October 24th, during the Marine Recreation Association's 46th Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show being held October 23 - 25, 2017, at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa, in Monterey, California.

"I'm sure that Professor Grigg's speech will be very informative and interesting, and a great presentation for our annual conference," said Mark Sandoval, MRA Vice President.
The theme for this year's Conference and Trade Show is Embracing Change . . .

The Conference will feature more than thirty  educational seminars covering key marine industry management, operations, and marketing concerns, focused on enhancing customer satisfaction, improving guest services, and optimizing regulatory compliance and fiscal results, along with the marine Trade Show exhibiting a broad range of the latest technology, products, and services from leading industry vendors.

. . . the perfect opportunity for marine industry professionals to meet and share effective strategies and experiences dealing with an ever-evolving business environment.

When it was suggested I write about millennial's, I started to do some research on just what is considered a millennial. What I found was that millennial's are generally defined as someone born between the years of 1976 and 2004.  The more I read I came to the conclusion it should be defined more as a mindset rather than an age group.  This mindset can be defined in a single word and that is "entitlement."  We are raising a granddaughter that just turned 16 years old and would be considered a millennial. Just being around her and her cadre of friends... none of them feel they are entitled to anything.  They all have worthwhile goals and are focused on achieving those goals.

With that said, what I want to talk about are those millennials that feel they are entitled and how to deal with them in the workplace. But before we do can we all agree that we are a product of our upbringing.  If you agree with that premise then those parents that rewarded their kids for minimal accomplishments or receiving a "Trophy" because they participated in a competitive sport have created a generation of young adults that have unrealistic expectations of working life


What I have found in a marina environment is that those millennials that trend toward the entitled group are less attracted to this industry as a career than those that focus on achieving goals. Although, when it comes to seasonal help it trends towards the younger segment of this entitled group and that is what I want to focus on and their role in your operation.

First, understand you usually have a short window of opportunity to create a cohesive workforce of these millennials either due to the length of the boating season, returning to school, or their feelings got hurt and they walked off the job.  So to keep your operation in tack you need a plan to deal with these individuals.  In much of the reading I have done on this topic it is negative but is there a silver lining with this group?  I believe there is.  If you believe in the philosophy to capitalize on one's strengths and shore up one's weaknesses to achieve a cohesive workforce then there is a place in your organization for these types of millennials.  Here are four traits for the entitled group of millennials that you should know and be ready to address.


1)   Millennials are addicted to mobile devices.


2) Satisfaction with their work environment matters more than monetary compensation.


3)   Millennials most likely will use social networking to convey their concerns about an unpleasant work environment before talking to you.

 4)  On the other hand, satisfied millennials are often employee advocates for the organizations they work for, providing honest, free and convincing public relations.


On the topic of millennials addiction to mobile devices let's see how that can be a positive.  Many marinas today use VHF radios to communicate with their employees while working out in the marina.  How many times have those radios ended up in the water, run over by a vehicle or just plain lost?  If your millennial employee had used their personal cell phone to communicate with you by either calling or texting do you think those accidents would have happened, most likely not.  Let's say that you offered each of those employees, that use of their personal phone that they treasure, a ten dollar a month stipend; it would take about two and a half years to cover the cost if you bought a radio.  The result: happy employee, happy marina owner.  Couple this with a policy on use of cell phones during work hours and turn what could have been a negative, into a positive, as well as shifting responsibility, a concept new to this group of employees.


Now let's look at the second item above regarding a millennials satisfaction with their work environment as being more important than monetary compensation.  That does not mean you take advantage and under pay these employees.  It does mean you look at your overall operation because if you have a positive work environment for your employees it will also translate into a better customer experience which should be your number one goal. In essence it is a win-win situation.


Numbers three and four above are interesting because they highlight the importance of social media in today's world.  You have a choice either to embrace or reject social media but you cannot ignore it.  I will be the first to tell you that I personally do not participate in any form of social media or even know how to navigate through the process but that does not mean I ignore it.  What I have recommended to clients on this subject is to find that millennial in your organization that is tech savvy and give them the responsibility to maintain the marina's reputation and get your message out on social media.  Obviously, this is more for a millennial employee that is a full time employee and not a seasonal employee.  This approach addresses one of the main criticisms of millennials and that is them being labeled as the self centered me-me-me generation as well as creating a cohesive workforce across multiple generations.


There are many more labels put on millennials but this is an evolving world and I am sure your parents had similar concerns about your generation and how to cope with change.  Ironically, we all survived and I am sure we will navigate through these changes as well... and survive.


Dennis Kissman will be presenting 
"Finding and Attracting Quality Workers" 
at the 
46th Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show
on October 24, 2017. 


For more information on the event, visit

State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways announces the availability of additional funds for the Fiscal Year 2017/18 SAVE program.

This funding is being made available to assist all agencies that have been negatively affected by the unusually wet weather this past winter and spring.  This includes agencies that manage rivers and other waterways, who have not traditionally applied for AWAF funding, but may need assistance in removing abandoned recreational vessels and/or other marine debris* from navigable waterways

Apply for this funding through DBW at:
Applications will be accepted from September 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017. 

For more information contact Ron Kent via email at  or by phone at (916)327-1825.

*Contact DBW at (916) 327-1825 for details on the types of marine debris eligible for this program.
The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting grant applications for the Clean Vessel Act Education and Outreach Program. Funding is available to any organization for educating coastal and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta boaters about sewage related issues, impacts, resources available to them, and proper vessel sewage disposal practices to encourage the use of pumpout facilities and mobile pumpout services.
For 2018, up to $500,000 Federal Clean Vessel Act funds will be made available through the DBW's Clean Vessel Act Program. The program targets the following two geographic regions in California (inland work performed beyond the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta area does not qualify for grant funding):
  • San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary: San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Solano, Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. 
  • Southern California Coastal Counties: Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego. 
DBW will provide funding for two grants (one for each targeted California geographic region and up to $250,000 each) that will develop and implement a 12-month Clean Vessel Act Boater Education and Outreach Program for one of the two targeted geographic regions mentioned above. Each regional grant must include education, outreach and monitoring components.

Proposals must be received by the division in either hard copy form or via e-mail (pdf format) prior to the end of business on October 13, 2017.
Proposals will not be accepted via fax. Applications will be evaluated and ranked according to how each application proposal demonstrates comprehensive and proven methods for meeting grant program goals. Instructions, requirements and guidelines are available on the DBW's website at .

In 1992, Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act to help reduce pollution from vessel sewage discharges into U.S. waters. The grant program established by the Act will help fund the construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout and dump stations to service recreational vessels.

As part of its commitment to provide clean, safe, and enjoyable recreational boating in California, DBW serves as the state grant coordinator. The division also provides boater education programs to promote public awareness about boat sewage and its proper disposal.

Glorietta Bay Marina in Coronado, California is a public boating facility owned by the city. Bellingham Marine rebuilt half of the marina in 2007. Replacement of C-dock and improvements to the marina's boat launch were left for a later date.

In 2016, the remaining work at Glorietta went out to bid. Bellingham Marine came in low and was awarded the contract for all land and waterside improvements.

"It was important to the City that they make the most of the renovation opportunity," shared Kevin Ketchum, Principal and General Manager of  California Yacht Marina, operator of Glorietta Bay. "The items most critical to them were better universal access, environmental stewardship and the long-term value of the property."

Replacement of C-dock included a number of improvements.
  • Modern Unifloat concrete docks
  • Slip reconfiguration
  • Improved ADA access and designated ADA slips
  • New fire lines and upgraded power
  • New gate, railing, gangway, and abutment pier
Reconfiguring C-dock allowed the City to keep its original 34-slip count but gave them the chance to have some bigger slips.

"Some of the most impressive improvements were made around the boat launch," said Ketchum. "The old concrete boat ramp was heavily deteriorated. The new ramp, boarding float and the new assisted kayak launch go a long way in supporting the City's goal of providing improved access to the bay for the entire community."

Bellingham Marine overlaid the existing ramp with a precast concrete panel.  A system of keyholes and grout were used to level out the ramp and secure the new panels in place.

"The new boarding float is ADA accessible and includes a low freeboard aluminum dock with a ramp that allows kayakers to launch themselves into the water - it's the only one in San Diego," remarked Eric Noegel, Manager of Project Development for Bellingham Marine.

Bellingham Marine also redid all of the surfaces around the parking lot and put in a boat wash with a trench drain to capture run-off.

BoatUS Summer Boating How-To 'Film Festival' Kicks-off

15 new film shorts by BoatUS Editors on how to fix, learn,
and do practical boating projects

What are the common boating tasks that drive boat owners to ask for help? Editors at BoatUS Magazine, the trusted voice of American boating, compiled a list of the top topics and announced the kickoff of a "BoatUS Summer How-to Film Festival" today with the release of 15 short, easily-watchable videos.

"We're calling the video release a summer 'film festival' because all are themed with a how-to focus, are organized in one simple place to view, and are easy to watch outdoors," added BoatUS Magazine associate editor Charles Fort.

Said BoatUS Magazine associate editor, Mark Corke, "The topics chosen come from decades of BoatUS member requests. These are the practical things that most trailer-boat owners want to know."

Titles range from launching your boat solo and changing a prop to backing a boat trailer down the ramp, changing a bilge-pump switch, and troubleshooting trailer lights. Most are just two or three minutes long. Breakout the popcorn and check out the videos at

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
Celebrating more than 50 years, BoatUS is the nation's largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. We are the boat owners' voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We are The Boat Owners Auto Club and help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn't end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. When boats break down on the water, TowBoatUS brings them safely back to the launch ramp or dock, 24/7. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program gives boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit

With Marine Recreation Association being the largest professional organization of marina, boatyard, hospitality, and other marine industry owners and operators located throughout the western United States with additional members in Canada, Mexico, and Australia, our mission is to provide a united voice in representing the interests of the boating industry, and to help educate and inform in all areas of recreational boating. MRA would like to welcome the following companies to our association:  
Compass Consulting
Huntington Harbour Marina
Simpson Strong Tie
To all of our MRA Members and Future Members
The 46th Annual MRA Educational Conference and Trade Show will be held October 23 - 25, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa. This year's theme is Embracing Change. With 6 general sessions and 17 breakout sessions, you will surely find many informative educational opportunities. Information is available at

To our trade members, please send me your press releases on new products or services you might have. The Trade Member Highlight section is a free opportunity to advertise them! I am reaching out to all of you and asking you to send me a press release when you have a new product or service that you would like for us to highlight. There will be one each month and will be placed according to submission date. This is one more way for us to promote your support and dedication to the association. We would also like to be included in your list of press release recipients.

As the association continues to grow, we will be welcoming our new members who join in each issue. If you know any of the new members listed in this issue, please welcome them aboard!  

Many times the contact name for membership changes during the year and unless it is around renewal time, we may not be aware of the change. Please take a look at your profile and make sure to let us know if there are any changes in contact names, addresses, phone and fax numbers or email addresses so we can have the most up-to-date information for you. Also, if you do not have at least 1 logo and 1 photo (of your marina or product) please email them to Jeannie so they can be uploaded. You can now also add a YouTube video if you have one.
Mariann Timms
Operations Administrator
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