May 2018   

Dear MRA Members and Friends;

I am writing this on Memorial Weekend Saturday - the beginning of the summer season.  My perspective has changed since I left the ocean for inland waterways.  Granted, there is a "season" for ocean marinas, but by and large business is steady throughout the year with a normal uptick in marina usage in the summer months.  On the other hand, at fresh water resorts it is all about the summer.  In general, inland resorts generate about 80-percent of the revenue in a four-month period, so we strive to capitalize on the "season."

While we work hard during the off-season repairing, upgrading and replacing, it can be tedious because there is little business and only the promise of a profitable summer to keep us excited.  Then the summer is upon us.  There truly is no better management feeling than to see a full resort and our customers thoroughly enjoying the recreational opportunities we offer on the lake and in the resort. 

When I started in this position, I wondered if camping and boating were becoming lost recreational activities.  Weekends like this Memorial Weekend illustrate that lake recreation is definitely alive and kicking.  It is very gratifying to see the enjoyment on our customers' faces, particularly the children.  In addition, it underscores the opportunity we have to capitalize on the enjoyment of the children, to do all we can to make lake recreation as enjoyable as possible, and to create future boaters at the earliest age possible.

While every member of your Board is busier as we embark on the summer season, we continue to plan for our 47th Annual MRA Educational Conference and Trade Show, and to develop programs which will benefit all of our members.  Notices are being mailed but a reminder that the conference is set for October 22-24 in beautiful Santa Barbara.    

As always, may you have great navigating into the future and always embrace change.


The 2018 Marine Recreation Association Conference & Trade Show will be held at the beautiful Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort overlooking the white sands and blue water of the Pacific Ocean and the distant Channel Islands.
This year's Conference theme will be People, Purpose, and Passion - The Pathway to Success. The marine industry is re-emerging today, into a new world of possibilities and potential. By focusing our passion and people on shared purposes we can all create a steady path to successfully navigate the challenges ahead.
The 2018 MRA Conference will feature a broad prospectus of industry experts and information covering key marine industry management, operations, and marketing concerns, focused on team building and improving guest services and operations to enhance customer satisfaction and optimizing the challenges of regulatory compliance and fiscal results. The marine Trade Show will feature the latest technology, products, and services from leading industry vendors and contractors focused on in business growth and profitability.
The three day event will kick off on Monday, October 22nd, with the day-long "Introduction to Marina Operations" seminar, designed to enhance industry knowledge for both new and burgeoning marina and boatyard owners, managers, and employees.
The 24th Annual MRA Golf Tournament will tee off at the Sandpiper Golf Club, a world-class championship golf course with an inspiring combination of challenge and beauty on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. . . Register early because this is sure to sell out!
And for others, the 6th Annual MRA Marina & Boatyard will tour the City of Santa Barbara Marina's 500 slip Marina One and Stearns Wharf. Attendees will also be treated to a fireboat tour of the harbor and East Beach Anchorage.

This year's Conference should be better than ever, so SAVE THE DATE, and REGISTER today! The MRA Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show is the perfect opportunity for marine industry professionals to meet and share effective strategies and experiences dealing with an ever-evolving business environment. Look for more information and special hotel rates online at

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) have released  "10+1 Strategy: A Marine Industry Guide to Growing the Workforce" as an instructive document for the marine industry to tackle workforce challenges.
The boards of MRAA and NMMA commissioned the document, which was authored by Wendy Mackie and her staff at the RIMTA. The guide provides 10 specific strategies for building the marine workforce, as well as a "plus 1" strategy that calls for the hiring of a national workforce coordinator. There are 90 specific tactics and more than 20 resources that can be implemented and used by national, regional and state trade associations and industry employers.
For full insight into the guide, its strategies, tactics and useable resources, download it at:
The 10+1 Strategy includes the following focal points:
1. Train the Trainer Programming
2. Professional Development Series for Employers and Marine Trade Associations
3. Increase Career Awareness
4. Support Initiatives in K-12 Schools
5. Align with Industries Seeking Workers with Similar Competencies
6. Generate a Library of Effective Program Models and Standardize for Replication
7. Aggregate Industry Data
8. Communicate and Distribute Information
9. Advocate for Funding
10. Cultivate Regional Employer Collaboratives
11. Hire a National Workforce Development Coordinator

The California State Parks' Division of Boating and Waterways, California Coastal Commission's Boating Clean & Green Program, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invite you to participate in our FREE Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Workshop.
AIS pose serious threats to water delivery systems, hydroelectric facilities, agriculture, boating, fishing, and the environment. Recreational activities, including boating and fishing, can spread AIS from infested waters to uninfested waters. Therefore, everyone accessing waters should take simple actions to avoid spreading AIS each time they leave a waterbody.
Workshop participants will:
* Gain an understanding of the impacts AIS have on the environment;
* Learn to recognize them in their region;
* Learn how to take action and prevent spreading the invasive species by inspecting and cleaning equipment and watercraft.

Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2018 
(You must register to attend by Friday, June 8)
Time: 8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location: Bay Model Visitor Center (Multi-Purpose Room) 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
Parking: Free parking at the facility.
Lunch: Purchase lunch at a nearby restaurant or bring your own lunch.
Workshop Partners: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model
To register, please contact Vivian Matuk at (415) 904-6905 or

Burton Chace Park Gets New Kayak Launch

The crown jewel of Marina del Rey, Burton Chace Park, has something to celebrate. The public park has replaced its failing plastic modular kayak launch dock with a brand new concrete system from Bellingham Marine.

Crews recently finished installing the custom paddle craft dock, complete with a dedicated ADA assisted launch ramp, in the popular community park. The dock also features six drive-on boatlift ramps for small sailing vessels, kayaks and canoes.

The dedicated ADA assisted launch features a pull out transfer seat, providing easy access from wheelchair height. It is outfitted with a grab bar, allowing users to enter the water safely unassisted. ADA compliant docks open watersports to anyone who wants to participate and are rapidly gaining popularity.

Situated among the transient boat slips, the new dock is constructed of match-cast, post-tensioned concrete floats. On one end, the wide-open area gently slopes down into the water. This sloped end is ideal for launching and porting laser sailboats.

The entire platform is 117 feet long and attaches to the new Unifloat floating concrete docks via ropes and cleats. "The custom platform was designed to fit perfectly into an open area on the existing docks," commented Eric Noegel, Bellingham Marine Manager of Project Development.

"The structure needed a unique shape to fit snug against the docks. Match-cast floats have proven a great solution for these types of applications," added Noegel.

For added guest comfort, the entire launch dock is covered in marine grade carpet.

LA County lifeguards will host beginning sailing courses for children on the new dock, teaching students the basics of sailing on 14 foot Capri sailboats.

The system was designed and installed by Bellingham Marine, who also was responsible for the new floating dock slips that surround the park.

3 Easy, No-Cost Ways to Be Safer on the Water

With the start of boating season, the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water has three tips to get boaters thinking about safety aboard any type of boat.

1. Open up your boat for a vessel safety check: 
You may think getting a vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons can open yourself to problems. However, a no-risk, free vessel safety check does the opposite. It points out both the required and recommended items to have aboard, such as fire extinguishers, life jackets, distress signals, first-aid kits, and engine spark arrestors, and also helps provide a better understanding on the care and use of this critical equipment. Checks are done as a courtesy with no risk to the boater, so you won't be in trouble if discrepancies are found. Go to to request a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary safety check or for a U.S. Power Squadrons safety check.

2. Believe the numbers - take a safety course: 
Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety show that only 13 percent of all boating deaths in 2016 occurred on vessels where the operator had taken a nationally approved boating safety education course. So take this number to heart - taking a boating safety course improves safety. The BoatUS Foundation offers free online boating safety courses that meet the education requirements in 36 states and also may earn you a boat insurance discount. Go to

3. Give a safety talk before you head out: 
Taking out guests is half the fun of boating, but before you head out give a little talk about how to stay safe aboard your boat. Some important things to include may be how to distribute weight in a small boat, how to hold on when crossing a wake, how a tuber or water skier should safely reboard after being towed, how the VHF radio works and the location of important safety equipment. Also, give everyone a life jacket to wear or keep in his or her immediate vicinity. If you don't have a right-sized life jacket for a youngster, borrow one for free at more than 550 locations nationwide from the BoatUS Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Program at

About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the more than half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nonprofit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses - including 36 free state courses - can be found at

To all of our MRA Members and Future Members 

Now that the Memorial Day weekend is over, summer is officially here! Dues renewal invoices were sent out earlier this month via email. I will be following up mid-June with an additional email and a mailed invoice in July if I haven't received your dues. You can renew your dues online at: The association keeps growing each year and we are now at an all-time high of 257 members!
We are working on creating the seminar "Introduction to Marina Operations" that precedes the conference into an online course in order to make it available to those who might not be able to attend in person. The first video will be on Policies and Practices and should be available sometime later this summer.
Information and registration for the 47th Annual MRA Educational Conference and Trade Show that will be held at Hilton Santa Barbara Beach Resort formally The Fess Parker A Doubletree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara, CA on October 22 - 24, 2018 is now available on MRA's website 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 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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