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May E Newsletter 2021

May 2021

From the Helm
To all our valued members,

MRA recently, along with other boating groups, had the opportunity to meet, via zoom, with the relatively new head of California Department of State Parks and Recreation, Armando Quintero. There were also several folks from the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) on the call. The topic of conversation was the financial stability of DBW.

The great news is that California Department of State Parks and Recreation is committed to propping up and supporting the Division of Boating and Waterways. In the meeting they listened to the concerns of the boating industry, primarily around increasing DMV fees to $40 bi-annually. At that time the governor’s budget included $20 million to come from the general fund to support DBW for the next three years. In that time period they proposed having stakeholder meetings to discuss permanent solutions to keeping the Division of Boating and Waterways structurally balanced on an on-going basis. We also were requesting to have an economic impact study done on the impact of boating to the state of California.

Based on the meeting staff released the following

recommendations on May 24th, 2021:
Reject the Governor’s proposed trailer bill language to increase vessel fees. Instead, provide an additional $9.3 million General Fund annually from 2021-22 to 2024-25 to support the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund (for a total transfer from the General Fund to the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund of $30 million annually from 2021-22 through 2024-25).
Adopt Budget Bill language that requires Parks, in consultation with stakeholders and staff of relevant fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature, to develop a proposal that includes a combination of fee increases, expenditure reductions, and other actions designed to keep the fund in structural balance on an ongoing basis. The Budget Bill language shall also require the department to present this proposal to the Legislature for consideration no later than January 10, 2023.

While this is a recommendation from staff and it has not been adopted as of yet, it does show the commitment of California Department of State Parks and Recreation to the Division of Boating and Waterways and the impact of MRA and others on the process. We will keep you posted. 


Scott Robertson

* From the Helm
* MRA and CAHMPC will join forces for 49th Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show in 2021
* Navigating the New Normal on the Water
* Construction Corner
* Trade Member Highlight
* The Last Word



 MRA and CAHMPC will join forces for 49th Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show in 2021

The Marine Recreation Association (MRA) and California Association of Harbor Masters & Port Captains (CAHMPC) will be partners this coming October co-hosting the revived marine industry Annual Educational Conference & Trade Show.

With COVID 19 finally under control, the Conference is now scheduled for this October 11 – 13, 2021 at the spectacular Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Resort in La Jolla, California, bringing together these two pivotal marine industry organizations. The MRA for the last 48 years and CAHMPC for 73 years have historically held separate conferences annually for their members with the MRA focused primarily on private ownership recreational boating marinas and boatyards and the CAHMPC primarily on municipal marine operations.

“We are excited about working with the MRA again and bringing our two memberships together for this important industry conference and trade show. I think the benefits for both organizations will be well worthwhile,” said Andrea Lueker, Harbor Manager, Port San Luis Harbor District and President, CAHMPC. MRA President, Scott Robertson, commented, “A number of our members have belonged to both associations through the years, and of course we share the same trade members. This partnership will help consolidate the costs and benefits of the Conference and Trade Show for all of our members.”

This year’s Conference will have a new theme Climate for Change, and will be focused on coastal and inland climate change issues, enhancing guest services and customer satisfaction, improving operations and regulatory compliance, and optimizing fiscal results for private and municipal marinas. As in the past, the 3-day Conference will feature seminars and round-table meetings covering key industry management, operations, and marketing concerns, along with an extensive Trade Show exhibiting the latest technology and engineering with a broad range of products and services from leading industry vendors and contractors focused on innovation, growth, and profitability as the marine industry evolves in today’s rapidly changing world of new challenges and potential.

The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Resort is home to PGA golf tournaments on two championship golf courses, nearby the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and just twelve miles from the classic restaurants and entertainment of the Gaslamp Quarter and beautiful San Diego City and Bay. Special hotel rates are being offered from October 5th to 17th, and attendees are invited to come early and stay late to enjoy the wonderful Southern California weather and amenities overlooking the white sand beaches and blue Pacific Ocean. Whatever the COVID 19 situation might be during the Conference, all events will be held in compliance with any and all COVID safety and health guidelines, and current up-to-date information will be available for all participants as the Conference planning progresses.

Registration and event information for the 49th Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show, in partnership with CAHMPC, is available on the MRA website at and on the CAHMPC website at


Navigating the New Normal on the Water


In the era of the coronavirus pandemic, finding ways to recreate outdoors has become an important survival tool. Last year, the boating industry saw a record number of new boat owners on the water. Both new boaters, and seasoned boaters alike, changed their habits to social distance naturally while making the most of their love for the recreational outlet. According to a survey of 3,500 boaters by Sea Tow Services International, we can expect this trend to continue into the 2021 summer season.

Pandemic-influenced boating behavior:

52% of boaters surveyed anticipate their boating activity to increase this summer compared to last.

Sea Tow Services International Releases Its Summer 2021 Recreational Boating Trends Survey

• 52% of boaters surveyed anticipate their boating activity to increase this summer compared to last.
• 20% cite the pandemic as the reason for extending their boating season again in 2021.

• 24% plan to vacation on/by boat (versus other forms of travel) because of the pandemic.
• 35% plan to use their boat primarily for cruising near their home.
• 16% upgraded to a larger boat in 2020 or plan to do so in 2021.
• 52% plan to use their boat primarily for fishing (65% in-shore / 30% off-shore / 5% freshwater).
• 30% have found it more difficult to find dockage and/or marina space.

"Our member survey has typically been a very strong indicator for seasonal recreational boating trends," said Kristen Frohnhoefer, President of Sea Tow. "Last year, Sea Tow saw a 34% increase in requests for on-water assistance in the summer of 2020, and our nationwide network of captains are anticipating another busy season for 2021." 

With the sale of a record number of new boats in over a decade and an influx of new boaters, Sea Tow noted that in 2020 owners of new boats were 142% more likely to need ungrounding services, 108% more likely to need fuel delivered to them and 11.2% more likely to need a battery jump. Alternately, new boat owners are 22% less likely to need a tow.

"These numbers are very interesting," Frohnhoefer says, "they reflect the fact that new boaters are not yet familiar with things like shifting sandbars and hard to navigate channels, or how to manage their fuel, like their more seasoned counterparts – which is getting them into trouble and causing them to call us for assistance. But likewise, these stats demonstrate what we've been saying all along – that when it comes to new boats, on-water assistance typically is needed due to user error, not mechanical failure, as newer boats and engines are more reliable than ever before."

With the number of new boaters recreating on the water, the need for boating education has never been more important. 69% of boaters surveyed are looking for more advice on local navigational assistance, mishap prevention and general boating basics.

"2021 is sure to be another banner year for boating," says Frohnhoefer, "with the unofficial start of summer only a few weeks away, we'll find out real soon if these trends for recreational boating activity are in fact here to stay."

About Sea Tow Services International, Inc. 
Sea Tow Services International Inc., better known as Sea Tow®, has been the innovative and premier leader of on-water assistance since 1983. Servicing the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, members are provided with a 24/7 direct connection with Coast Guard-licensed captains. The pioneering concept, founded by Captain Joseph Frohnhoefer, was established in Southold, NY when the United States Coast Guard ceased response to non-emergency assistance calls. 
In addition to on-water assistance, the franchise network handles salvage and recovery missions, and responds to natural disasters, environmental hazards and oil spill cleanups. Visit to learn more. 


 Construction Corner


Structural Restoration at the Venice Fishing Pier

The Venice Fishing Pier reaches out from beige sand beaches into the Pacific Ocean along the coastline of Southern California. The Pier is located within the Venice district of Los Angeles which is known for its historic canal-style homes, vibrant boardwalk, and shops in a picturesque setting a few miles south of Santa Monica. The pier first opened in 1964, and on most days, you can see locals and visitors fishing from its twelve fishing stations. The pier connects to a paved pathway and serves as a walking route with excellent views of the coastal scenery. 

The 16-foot-wide pier is supported by a total of 157 concrete piles. Throughout its life, the concrete piles supporting the structure have been continuously exposed to the ravages of ocean saltwater. Over time the saltwater exposure has caused corrosive reactions with the metallic material resulting in deterioration of the structure and significantly reducing the structural integrity of the pier itself. 

The City of Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners announced a bid for project proposals to address these issues, and in August of 2020 Bellingham Marine was awarded the contract for the first phase of repairs. The contract scope included concrete repair and a comprehensive restoration of 1,200 linear feet of structure on the underside of the pier. Bellingham Marine repaired 42 concrete piles with FRP repair jacket sizes ranging from 10’ to 20’ long and 25” diameter. The structural damage to the Pier was so significant that equipment was unable to be utilized on the pier and required repairs to be made with limited machinery.

 The challenges of accessing the underside of the pier for these repairs, while ensuring a safe working environment, were accomplished with a creative solution. Bellingham Marine worked with a third party to design a custom scaffolding system that reduced the overall load on the structure during the renovation. The repairs were meticulously completed by hand, demonstrating the skill and craftsmanship of the Bellingham Marine crews.

The project broke ground in September 2020 and is on track to be open to the public for the summer 2021 season. The expected completion date for the first phase of the three-part repair project is July 30, 2021. 


 Trade Member Highlight


Up from the Madding Crowd

Connecting people and quality life on HDPE elevated walkways 

by Bill Flynn

Elevated walkways and “skyways” offer a spectrum of urban planning objectives, connecting people to destinations above the hazards of vehicular traffic and increasing quality of life in a variety of ways. In addition, golf courses, country clubs and cities install elevated walkways to traverse difficult terrain, creeks, and watershed areas. These walkway designs also open natural habitats to human exploration without disrupting the flora and fauna.

Regular maintenance and aesthetics are especially important for golf courses and country clubs. And, constantly replacing rotting wood in hard to navigate waterways and wetlands can be an unwanted challenge and expense. High Tek Deck HDPE elevated walkway construction materials offer a recyclable, attractive and a long-term sustainable solution.

The Pacific Northwest, where rain falls 265 days a year, provides a great test case in recovering challenging environments with HDPE elevated walkways--marshes and wetlands--balancing human enjoyment and protecting habitat. Check out one of our suppliers’, Bedford Technologies, drone video navigating the quarter mile elevated walkway that reclaimed marshland in Washington state.

Saltwater, inclement weather. and sun do not harm HDPE elevated walkways. Whether repairing or reinforcing pedestrian bridges, docks, decks, fencing, benches, or picnic tables, HPDE construction materials are versatile and solve a lot of headaches. With lumber prices spiking, HDPE can also be easy on the pocketbook.

High Tek Deck Inc. is a nationwide resource and prime distributor of high quality, environmentally friendly, sustainable HDPE profiles. For more information and to arrange a Zoom conference or a customized presentation, please call Bill Flynn, CEO, at: (650) 368-7957 or e-mail:


The Last Word
To all of our MRA Members and Future Members,

Memorial weekend is starting now! On Memorial Day, let us honor those who gave their lives for our country. 

The MRA year runs from July 1st to June 30th each year and membership renewal is just around the corner. Your membership renewal forms are being emailed to you. 

Our 49th Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show in partnership with California Association of Harbor Masters and Port Captains will be held at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines on October 11 – 13, 2021. The information is now on the website at The schedule of events is still a work in progress and we are adding the missing information as it comes in. There will be some exciting new changes and additions to this year’s event! 

Our FREE Educational Series webinars are still available for viewing and can be accessed at:   

Also, if you were unable to attend this year’s 5th Annual California Boating Congress, the video is available to watch 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.

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.

Thank you and stay safe!
Mariann Timms

Operations Administrator