September 2018   

Dear MRA Members and Friends;

As the summer turns to Fall, the colors change (in some places), the air gets cleaner and a little cooler, and it is a great time to be on the water.  We are blessed in Southern California that even though it feels like summer has ended, particularly with schools starting in the middle of August, October is one of the best months of the year.  The temperature is still summer-like, the water has not cooled too much, and boating and other water sports are still great.    

You should have received Board member ballots by now.  Make sure you vote and get your ballot sheet in to Mariann.  I am excited about the new potential Board members, particularly the younger ones with fresh perspectives.  We are continuing to lose many of the "old guard," who possessed a huge wealth of industry experience and knowledge.  As we work to re-fill the vacant Board seats, we have discussed the potential of having a smaller Board and using committees to evaluate issues and make recommendations, and carry some of the workload without the commitment of a Board seat.  We will continue to discuss this model, as I see it as a dynamic model as well.

Finally, late September/early-October means that our annual conference is right around the corner.  I hope that you are as excited as I am.  Nothing beats Santa Barbara in October.  (Well, maybe Channel Islands Harbor, but I am biased.)   If you are not planning to attend, you are going to miss a great conference in a great location.  For those of you going, I look forward to seeing you there.

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


Photo by Joleane King. DBW Commissioners, staff and tour leaders stop at the City of Eureka's Samoa Boat Launching Facility (BLF) on Humboldt Bay. The city is requesting a DBW grant for improvement plans.

Story from:  Charley Hesse, DBW Administration

The Division of Boating and Waterways Commission toured two Humboldt County boating facility project sites and an aquatic center on August 15, 2018.  At the Arcata South I Street boat ramp area, representatives from the City of Arcata gave an overview of the non-motorized personal watercraft boat launch facility project. It will include parking lot improvements, loading/unloading areas, a dock and a restroom.

At the tour's second stop, Commissioners discussed the City of Eureka's presentation about its request for funding to develop plans for improvements to the local Samoa Boat Launching Facility (BLF) on Humboldt Bay. Future needs include replacing the pile-guided boarding floats, adding a new non-motorized pile-guided low-freeboard boarding float, demolishing the existing restroom and constructing a new restroom near the ramp, resurfacing and restriping the parking area, and replacing the project credit sign. The Commission gave its full support and approval for plan development.

"The Boating and Waterways Commission continues to look for ways to improve boating facilities throughout California. The improvements planned for the City of Eureka at the Samoa Boat Launching Facility on Humboldt Bay will provide safe, convenient access for thousands of boaters for many years," reports DBW Commission Chair Randy Short.

At the Humboldt State University Aquatic Center, Directors Dave Nakamura and Bridget Hand informed the Commission of the history of the Boating Instruction Safety Center's build and development through a partnership with DBW, the City of Arcata and the university. They showed Commissioners the boathouse and recently added dock. DBW's Aquatic Center Grants assist the program's community boating safety classes. 

Victor Bjelajac, Superintendent of the California State Parks North Coast Redwoods, and Dave Nakamura, Director of Humboldt State University Aquatic Center welcomed the Commission to the area during its meeting in the Eureka City Hall.  Superintendent Bjelajac expressed deep appreciation for Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez' help to secure boat transportation from Humboldt State University Aquatic Center for local Yurok tribal elders to travel safely to a highly significant Tribal Jump Dance Ceremony when no other vessels were available.

During the meeting, the Commissioners also received updates from DBW staff about Boating Infrastructure Grants, the Boating Accident Program, Aquatic Center Grants, Boating Safety Course, Boating Safety and Environmental Awareness Campaign, Life Jacket Outreach and Loaner Program, and the K-12 Boating Safety Education Program.

Effective risk management involves three overlapping shields - Best Management Practices, Insurance, and a comprehensive Wharfage Contract - to provide the best protection and indemnification . . .

Claims of almost every conceivable variety are made against marina and boatyard operators, ranging from the serious and bona fide to those that are at best fanciful and without legal merit. Many claims can be easily defended against based on agreements, such as a Wharfage Contract, between the parties involved. Certain risks, however, cannot be mitigated solely by an agreement and require insurance protection. Sound management practices strengthen both of these and provide a necessary third shield of protection. It is important to understand the limitations of each shield and how they interact to provide a strong risk management strategy.

RJ Lorenzi, Norman-Spencer Agency, Inc., and Philip Weiss, Attorney, Brodsky,Micklow, Bull & Weiss, will provide an interactive discussion during the upcoming MRA Educational Conference and Trade Show focused on integrating the three risk management shields needed to protect boatyards and marinas in today's legal environment. The one-hour seminar session will be held on Wednesday, October 24th at 11:00 am, and attendees will be encouraged to present their specific case studies and situations to the group for discussion.

The internet has become an increasingly important marketing avenue for the marine and recreation industries, and understanding all the available tools is a critical part of optimizing marketing efforts and successfully engaging customers and others via the internet.
Having an effective social media presence is now a "must have", and keeping it fresh and engaging is the key to enhancing your digital footprint. Kevin Parker, founder of Star Systems, a social media marketing company with years of social media experience will be presenting a "Social Media Workshop" on Wednesday, October 24 at 2:00 PM to discuss the many social media tools that are freely available today.
All of the tools described will be available in a handout, but this session will also be interactive so bring your laptop and internet browser to try out the technologies being discussed. At the end of this workshop you and your social media marketing team will be able to deliver automated, interesting, personalized, and interactive content to prospective and current customers.
Understanding Google Analytics can make a significant difference in the success of your internet marketing efforts. Darin Selfridge, President, Compass Consulting, and MRA's Webmaster (aka: Internet Guru), will present a special session "Understanding Google Analytics" on Tuesday, October 23 at 3:45 PM to help attendees cut through the intricacies of this important internet tool.
Your time is limited, and knowing exactly where to be spending your internet marketing efforts will have a huge impact on marketing results. Attendees will come away with a clear understanding of the Analytics Dashboard and the various terminology to help you translate Analytics data into meaningful content updates. Handouts will also help attendees apply SEO best practices and ranking factors, and learn how to prioritize on-the-page and off-the-page success factors to improve your overall internet presence.
Don't miss these two important educational seminars at the 2018 MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show, October 22 - 24, with more than thirty educational seminars and special presentations, and an expansive Trade Show featuring more than fifty industry vendors and services . . . all taking place at the beautiful Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.
A team of marine industry experts at this year's MRA Educational Conference will present a practical and interactive examination of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and how the Act and enforcement can impact a marine business.

This presentation, led by Robert Smith, Executive Director, and Travis Vance, Partner, of Fisher Phillips Safety Solutions with John Chiazza from USI, will be held on Tuesday, October 23rd at 2:15 pm at the annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show in Santa Barbara, CA.

Attendees will be provided a thorough analysis of the Act, including its purpose and history, the types of citations and penalties, both civil and criminal that may be issued under OSHA, and a discussion of the legal process initiated when a citation is issued. The Secretary of Labor's right to issue various citations and the uncertain ramifications of settlement negotiations will also be a focus.
The session will present real world scenarios with photos and factual situations under which citations have been issued, and a comprehensive case study of how to respond to a marina accident involving injury. The discussion will also cover employee training, safety program management, and the potential impact of a serious accident on a company's insurance coverage.

How about Floating a Building in your Marina?

Floating recreational facilities have been growing in popularity across the marine world, and advancements in engineering and construction have pushed the limits on what is possible.
Craig Funston, Vice President of Engineering, Bellingham Marine, will show attendees a myriad of possibilities in floating platform applications in his seminar "Engineering a Floating Platform" on Tuesday, October 23rd at 3:45 pm during the 2018 Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show.
Floating platforms are often the most cost-effective and efficient way to support structures and other over-the-water spaces for a variety of uses. Floating platforms come in a wide array of configurations and have been designed to accommodate such things as putting greens, miniature golf courses, restaurants, bars, and other gathering spaces, marina stores, and even water parks and floating swimming pools. Government agencies often use floating offshore facilities as emergency response stations for fire, law enforcement, and spill response centers.
"Engineering a Floating Platform" will show you the latest advancements in floating platform design and use, and how these structures are changing the waterscape of the modern boating facility . . . The only limit may be your imagination!

For two consecutive legislative sessions, the California State Legislature has failed to pass meaningful fishing license reforms that would address California's declining fishing participation rate, and declining fishing license sales and revenue. After the State Legislature amended Senate Bill 518 (Berryhill) to increase the cost of the bill's proposed 12-month fishing license, the California Sportfishing League  
withdrew support for the bill and Senator Tom Berrybill chose not to advance the bill.
The CSL has sponsored several 12-month license bills, including Senate Bill 518 (formerly SB 187), but opposed charging more for a 12-month license.  As if intended to be a poison pill, the legislature amended the bill to charge a premium for the 12-month license that was 30% more than the cost of the current calendar-based fishing license.

California's annual calendar-based fishing license expires on December 31st of every year, providing few incentives for anglers to pay full-price for a license in the Spring and Summer months when recreational activity increases. The sales of California's annual sport fishing licenses have declined over 55% since 1980, and 16% during the past eight years of the Brown Administration. The base price of California's calendar-based license is the second most expensive license in the country. Once required permits are purchased, California has the distinction of being the most expensive state to fish in the country. 

  Earlier this year CSL released independent analysis conducted by
 Southwick & Associates that revealed that California's costly fishing license is likely a major contributor to the state's declining fishing participation rate and is economically unsustainable for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Senate Bill 518 was
supported by a strong coalition group of industries and organizations representing sportfishing, boaters, marina operators, small business, retailers, tourism and hospitality.

The California Sportfishing League is not giving up! Next year, California will have a new Governor. Perhaps, under different leadership, the prospect of reform is more likely.

December 9-13th, 2018 Pt. Richmond,CA

Join ABBRA's widely respected industry experts for a 4-day training course designed for individuals working in management or leadership roles in today's boat building and repair facilities.
The course is co-hosted by Keefe Kaplan Maritime Inc. and is being held at their Pt. Richmond, CA facility.
Course Content:

* Leadership Skills and Time Management
* Human Resources and Team Building
* Safety, Health and Emergency Response
* Financial Management
* Project Management
* Maritime Law
* Contracts 
* Marketing and Social Media
An important feature of the Certified Marine Service Manager (CMSM) course is its intensive participatory characteristics that help attendees establish strong and lasting networks of contacts in the industry and throughout the country.
Who Should Consider CMSM?
This certification is designed for individuals who want to advance and demonstrate proven leadership and management skills in the operation of a boatyard, a service department or marine service and repair business. Candidates for this certification should be currently employed in a boatyard or marine service business in a leadership role (or display the potential for such a role) and have a working knowledge of the boatyard business as it relates to refit, repair, and servicing of boats, their systems, and overall operations. For boatyard operators, the CMSM is a unique opportunity to professionalize your staff and improve the efficiency and profitability of your business.

There will be an opening reception on Sunday, December 9th from 6 to 8pm. The course begins on Monday, December 10th at 8:00 am and ends on Thursday, December 13th at 5:00 pm.
Location & lodging details 
The course is being held at the Keefe Kaplan Maritime, Inc. (KKMI) boatyard in Pt. Richmond, CA. Participants are responsible for making their own travel and lodging arrangements.

For more information, contact or call Tel: (401) 236-2466

Could Those LED Lights on the Boat Be Causing Your
VHF Radio or AIS to go on the Fritz?

U.S. Coast Guard issues Marine Safety Alert on potential interference problem
With their low battery draw, cooler operation and sturdy construction, LED lights have been popular with recreational boaters. The lights may also be causing poor VHF radio and Automatic Identification System (AIS) reception, according to a Marine Safety Alert issued by the U.S. Coast Guard on August 15. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is urging boat owners to follow the Coast Guard's simple test procedures for LED interference and report any instances to the Coast Guard Navigation Center.
The alert, issued for informational purposes, outlines reports received from mariners concerning radio frequency interference caused by LED lamps that "were found to create potential safety hazards." In some cases, the Coast Guard says, the interference may cause problems if mariners need to call for help. The interference can affect VHF voice communications as well as Digital Selective Calling (DSC) messages, and it may also affect AIS because they also use VHF radio. In particular, masthead LED navigation lights on sailboats may cause problems due to their close proximity to antennas.
The Coast Guard advises that it is possible to test for the presence of LED interference by using the following procedures:
  1. Turn off LED light(s).
  2. Tune the VHF radio to a quiet channel (for example, channel 13).
  3. Adjust the VHF radio's squelch control until the radio outputs audio noise.
  4. Re-adjust the VHF radio's squelch control until the audio noise is quiet, only slightly above the noise threshold.
  5. Turn on the LED light(s).
If the radio now outputs audio noise, then the LED lights are causing interference and it is likely that both shipboard VHF marine radio and AIS reception are being degraded by LED lighting. Potential solutions include contacting an electronics repair facility to address the problem, changing the LED bulb to incandescent bulb or fixture, or increasing the separation between the LED light and antenna.
The Coast Guard also requests those experiencing this problem to report their experiences to the Coast Guard Navigation Center by selecting "Maritime Telecommunications" on the subject drop-down list, then briefly describing the make and model of LED lighting and radios affected, the distance from lighting to any antennas and radios affected, and any other information that may help them understand the scope of the problem.
If you'd like to learn more about VHF DSC radio or AIS operation, BoatUS Foundation has online courses and a free DSC VHF tutorial 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

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:
Booyah Clean
Fisher Phillips Safety Solutions
Hanover Insurance Group
Law Office of Alexander T Gruft
Pacific Boat Services
The Water Bike Co.

To all of our MRA Members and Future Members 

Here we are just weeks away from the 47th Annual MRA Educational Conference and Trade Show that will be held at Hilton Santa Barbara Beach Resort \ in Santa Barbara, CA on October 22 - 24, 2018. If you haven't registered yet, there is still time. The conference information is located on our website at
Save the Date for the 4th Annual California Boating Congress that will be held on March 6, 2019 and plan to register early. There will be government and industry speakers in the morning and a chance to meet with YOUR legislator in the afternoon. If you are able to come a day early, there will be a cocktail reception the evening before the event on March 5, 2019.
If you haven't paid your dues yet, please do so soon! Our year started July 1st. You can pay your dues online 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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