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November 2022 E Newsletter

November 2022

Dear MRA Members and Guests,
Like many of you, when December rolls around,
I have been reflecting on the year's progress,
whether we achieved our goals, and setting our
plans for 2023.
One of our association's goals was to strengthen our working relationships with other recreational marine associations, both in California and nationally. The importance of the strong relationship with our fellow associations is paramount to our collective future success, and I would like to thank our partners at the NMMA, CYBA, CAHMPC, RBOC, CCAC, CMANC, Boat U.S., and Delta Chambers for their support this year- together, we have battled rising regulatory issues, including rent control, water and air quality issues.
The California Boating Congress is the galvanizing event that brings our partnerships together and our issues to the table in Sacramento; I encourage you to plan to attend the 2023 CBC on April 11 & 12 in Sacramento.
This year's 50th Anniversary Conference was a great success, with a record number of attendees and an outstanding program. Many thanks to the MRA Board, Arron Pellarin, Mariann Timms, and our partners, the California Association of Harbor Masters and Port Captains, for their work to elevate the experience. Our gratitude to the DBW teams in attendance, Commissioner Kenneth Ehrman, Commissioner Tom Pier, Director Ramona Fernandez, and Grants & Loans Manager Keren Dill, for spending the two days with us and diving into the deep end on the challenges we face as an industry.
The 51st Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show will be held October 16 -18 in San Diego; please mark your calendars; we look forward to reconnecting then.
As we wrap up the year, I want to thank all of our members; you are the lifeblood of this organization and the driver of our mission.
I wish you, your families, and your teams a wonderful Holiday season
With thanks,
Kate Pearson
50th Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show
“Creating a SUSTAINABLE Future” for Marine Industry
The weather was perfect and attendees were enthusiastic and engaged at this year’s 50th Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show, held in partnership with the California Association of Harbor Masters & Port Captains.
The three-day Conference kicked-off Tuesday October 18th at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort in Santa Barbara, California with three special first-day events.

Thirty-seven participants teed-off for the 27th Annual MRA Golf Tournament at the spectacular Sandpiper Golf Club and enjoyed a beautiful day of golf on the rolling fairways and greens along the Pacific Ocean shoreline . . . of course some played better than others, but everyone had a great time.
A special two-part seminar was also presented during day-one. Part 1, a Digital Sales Management session, presented by Alison Stripling and Ali Meharg offered a wealth of information focused on hands-on training helping participants set-up and manage their digital infrastructure and media programs. Part 2 was an afternoon session with the MRA’s General Counsel, Phil Weiss, a Certified Specialist in Admiralty & Maritime Law, who presented and discussed the updated sample Wharfage Contract, available for exclusive use by MRA members. Phil threw in a few “war stories” as well for humor and education.
Rounding out the day was the 8th Annual Marina & Boatyard Tour, an opportunity for 25 attendees to take an in-depth tour of several marina and boatyard operations in Ventura Harbor, including the new Portside Marina, Ventura Harbor Village Marina, Safe Harbor Ventura Isle Marina, and the state-of-the-art Derecktor Boat Yard.
Tuesday night’s Welcome Reception in the Trade Show pavilion was well-attended with an open bar, libations, and hors d’oeuvres provided by sponsoring Trade Show Exhibitors, providing attendees with an early opportunity to mingle and browse the latest industry innovations and information from 42 leading marine industry vendors and contractors.
On Wednesday morning more than 230 Conference attendees showed up for an early breakfast in the Trade Show pavilion, followed by MRA President, Kate Pearson’s Welcome & Conference Opening, and President of the CAHMPC, Andrea Lueker’s, welcoming comments to all.
Kate then introduced Dave Munroe, one of the founding fathers of the MRA, who gave a brief talk about the origination of the MRA 50 years ago. Following Dave, Kate presented the ‘Darrell McConnell Award’ to Mark Sanders, Owner of Westpoint Harbor, in recognition for his many contributions to the recreational boating and marine industry.
Arron Pellarin, MRA Vice President, opened the Conference General Session and introduced Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rouse. Mayor Rouse gave a short talk about the history of the Santa Barbara Marina and waterfront and welcomed all the attendees to the Conference.
Jim Hayes, MRA Board Member & COO of Almar Marinas reviewed the mission and history of the MRA emphasizing the organizations key functions of legislative advocacy, member communication and support, legal and regulatory templates, education and training, and coordination of The California Boating Congress.
Arron Pellarin then announced the election results and introduced the incoming MRA Board Members. Steve Meckfessel, MRA Treasurer gave the annual Treasurer’s Report confirming that the organization was in very sound financial condition.
Wednesday’s Conference Keynote Speech was delivered by Frank Hugelmeyer, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association, who delivered a very insightful presentation on the recent evolution of the outdoor recreation and boating industries and potential challenges facing the future.
During COVID there was a massive migration to coastal, lake, and river communities as people looked for recreational opportunities and improved quality of life. These changes provided strong growth momentum to the recreation industry, but boating actually lost market share and challenges persist. Frank stressed the need for new boating infrastructure investment, legislative advocacy and interaction, and the need for innovation and new products to adapt to the emerging electric vehicle transition, all critical components for creating a sustainable future for the marine recreation industry.
After a morning coffee break for attendees to visit with Trade Show exhibitors, Beau Biller, MRA Lobbyist, Platinum Advisors, Mark Smith, NMMA Lobbyist, and Jerry Desmond, RBOC Director of Government Relations followed with a review and discussion of state and federal legislation and issues facing the industry in the future. Beau Biller finished the presentation with an overview of the California legislative process and how to interact with that very complex process.
The morning session concluded with a presentation by Jim Hayes, Andrea Leuker, Gary Jones, and Kate Pearson reviewing “Professionalism in The Marina / Harbor Industry, and How it has Changed in the past Decade”. This was Part 1 of a presentation to be continued on Thursday.
Lunch was served outdoors, giving everyone a chance to get outside in the sunny and warm weather with more revelations and reminiscing from Randy Short, Kevin Ketchum, and Dave Munroe about the early years of the MRA . . . the food was spectacular!
Wednesday afternoon’s conference was broken into three hour-long sessions, featuring a number of different seminar topics led by industry experts for attendees to choose from. Session 1 offered a discussion of ‘Quality Customer Experiences – Creating the WOW Factor’; ‘How to Conduct a Workplace Investigation’; and ‘Happenings at the Division of Boating & Waterways – Surrendered & Abandoned Vessel Exchange Program’. Session 2 covered an ’Employment Challenges Round Table’; ‘Commercial Harbor Craft Rule Making Status’; and ‘Boating without Owning – Attracting the Next Generation of Boaters’. After another break for refreshments with the Trade Show exhibitors, Session 3 reviewed ‘Rent Control on Boats – Averted for Now’; Cyber Liability Explained – Hacking Trends, etc’; and ‘What Buyers are Looking For when They Look to Purchase a Marina’.
Wednesday night was Game Night with a plethora of carved meats and other heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and other libations and a whole array of fun party games. The event was held outside in the hotel’s central courtyard in the warm light of the setting sun and proved to be a most memorable evening and a great way to blow-off some steam after a long day of industry education and updates.
Thursday morning kicked off with a continental breakfast in the Trade Show pavilion and more time to meet with exhibitors, followed by an updated report from Robert Newsome, NMMA Sr. Vice President of Operations, on ‘Boating and Economic Impact in California’. As most of us know, boat sales have remained strong the past year, but supply line issues and now a potential recession may prove challenging, and future boat sales are typically closely corelated to consumer confidence.
Dr. Jon Haveman, Executive Director, National Economic Education Delegation, provided some more insight with his ‘Economic Forecast’ looking at the potential for decreasing GDP growth, higher interest rates, lower consumer demand, but still with a strong labor market and corporate profits . . . not a negative prognosis, but challenging non-the-less.
A morning coffee break offered another opportunity for attendees to visit the Trade Show followed by two hours of break-out sessions. Session 1 included ‘Part 2 – Professionalism in the Marina / Harbor Industry, and How it has Changed in the Past Decade’; ‘Future of Batteries & Boating – What is Real’; and ‘Historic Aspects of Ports & Harbors’. Session 2 covered presentations on ‘Sustainable Tourism Concern and the Marina Role; ‘E-Marine – Preparing for the Electric Era’; and ‘How Climate Change will Impact California’s Coastal Marine Conditions’.
Following the morning Conference sessions lunch was served again in the hotel’s central courtyard. The business card drawing was held and prizes awarded to the lucky winners. Everyone was a winner though as the weather was perfect and the food was delicious.
The final afternoon sessions of the Conference were again broken into two 1-hour periods with Session 1 featuring presentations covering ‘Streamlining Boatyard Operations’; ‘Mitigating Boat Wakes with Floating Wave Attenuators’; and ‘First Responders’. Session 2 covered ‘Moneyball for Marinas – Using Data to Find Hidden Revenue’; and ‘Environmental Spills and Response’.
The 50th Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show in partnership with the California Association of Harbor Master & Port Captains, was an important and informative marine industry event put together by a dedicated group of industry owners, managers, vendors, and MRA staff. THANKS AGAIN to all of the special event sponsors. Your contributions help make the MRA 50th Anniversary Conference a complete success.
Coming next is the 6th Annual California Boating Congress planned for April 12, 2023 with a cocktail reception on April 11th. Now is the time to begin thinking about your boating and marine industry legislative / regulatory concerns, and add the up-coming CBC to your calendar.
And, we are all looking forward to the 51st Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Resort on October 16 – 18, 2023.
51st Annual MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show
The Marine Recreation Association has issued a "Call for Presentations" for the 2023 MRA Educational Conference & Trade Show to be held October 16-18, 2023, at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
Presenters interested in participating in the 2023 Conference are encouraged to submit proposals for informational and/or technical seminars or roundtable presentations at the Conference for consideration by the MRA Board of Directors as soon as possible. Typical presentation should fit a 50 minute timeframe focused on marina and boatyard industry marketing, management, development, regulation, technology, and other topics of interest, in a multi-media and/or roundtable format.
The MRA's annual Educational Conference & Trade Show is the perfect opportunity for marine industry professionals to share their expertise and experience with hundreds of marine business operators, developers, owners, and other industry insiders from across the western U.S. and elsewhere.
The three-day Conference provides a broad spectrum of informational presentations covering key marine industry management, operations, and marketing concerns focused on enhancing guest services and customer satisfaction, and improving marine operations while optimizing fiscal results. The marine Trade Show will feature the latest technology, 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.
Participating speakers have an opportunity to present your company and professional expertise in a position of industry leadership, by sharing knowledge and experience raising awareness and understanding of key industry topics for a diverse group of industry attendees.
"The MRA continually seeks seminar courses that bring unbiased and new information about emerging issues and ideas impacting the industry to our members, and our Conference and Regional Training Programs are ways we accomplish that objective," said Mariann Timms, MRA Operations Administrator.
Presentation proposals for the 2023 Conference must be submitted no later than Monday, January 9, 2023, via email to Proposals must include the title of the presentation, a brief overview of the subject matter, the presentation format, and the name and short bio of the presenter.
Submitted proposals will be reviewed at the Board of Directors Annual Planning Meeting, and approved presentations will be notified by the end of February 2023. 
The Marine Recreation Association is a professional organization that represents marina owners, operators and industry professionals located throughout the western United States with additional members in Canada, Mexico, and Australia. Created more than 50 years ago, the MRA actively promotes and represents recreational boating interests while providing educational management and operations seminars and information for marine industry owners, operators, and staff.
For additional information about the MRA, and all of its activities and interests, please contact Mariann Timms by phone at (209) 334-0661, email at or go online at
Do The Hard Things
Bill Yeargin is CEO of Correct Craft and the author of five books, including the best-seller Education of a CEO.
Hank came to see me wearing his anxiety like a neon-colored sport jacket. He had just terminated an employee he considered a friend. And while Hank knew it was the best thing for his organization — and likely his friend, too — in the long run, it wasn’t an easy task.
The best leaders make the difficult decisions they know are best for their team, even when challenging. At Correct Craft, we call it “doing the hard things.”

The value of doing the hard things was reinforced for me recently when I was preparing for a marathon. I was struggling with training through the hot Florida summer when I read that the most successful athletes are willing to tolerate discomfort. To be a great athlete, you must be willing to work harder than anyone else, train when others are doing more fun things and push well beyond the point when your body wants to stop. Embracing the mindset of being willing to tolerate discomfort was a game-changer for me in my marathon training. Of course, it can be a game-changer for leaders too.
The best leaders are willing to skip the easy path and do the hard things. They know that while it may be more challenging in the short run, doing the hard things is best for them, their team, and their organization in the long run.
Some of the hard things great leaders do include:

Necessary Endings — No matter how hard we try to make a relationship work, there are times when we need to go separate ways with an employee, vendor, distributor, or someone else with whom we work. This is hard for someone like me who works very hard to make all relationships work, often well beyond the point of diminishing returns. I have sometimes taken too long to make an essential change. Waiting only hurts your team, you and usually even the person or organization who needs to be changed. Henry Cloud’s book Necessary Endings helped our leadership team at Correct Craft be more effective in this area.
Confront Problems — Leaders often find it much easier to ignore problems rather than deal with them. Dealing with problems is hard; it takes both a physical and emotional toll on leaders. In addition, many leaders worry about how people will react. However, avoiding problems allows cancer into your organization, eventually destroying it.
Be a Fighter Pilot — My leadership style is to mutually agree with our team on goals and then let them work toward achieving them. I don’t think anyone would accuse me of being a micromanager. However, there are times when a leader must step in, manage assertively, and make tough calls. Maybe the best example of this is during an economic or market downturn when the leader must protect the organization, which typically includes a lot of hard decisions.
Clarity — Over the years, I have written a lot about the importance of a leader providing their team clarity. But providing clarity is a difficult task. What is apparent in the leader’s head may not be clear in the listener’s head. When there is a communication problem, it is the leader’s fault; Every. Single. Time. It takes time, effort, and a lot of energy to create clarity for your team, but you must provide clarity on your mission, vision, why, strategic plan, and budget. It isn’t easy, but once you create clarity, you will be surprised by how well things get done.
Energize — It takes a lot of effort from a leader to provide their team energy. It is one of the hard things we must do, but necessary. Leaders set the tone for an organization and provide emotional fuel for their team to get things done. If a leader feels grumpy or angsty, it negatively impacts their team’s energy level. It may be difficult to stay energized — and sharing grumpiness or angst with your team may feel good — but your organization is paying a high price when you do.
Be a Learner — I wear a wristband that says, “Be a Learner.” Being a learner may seem easy, but it is not. It is hard because most of us are not wired for it; we are wired to be knowers. A knower views information through a paradigm that tries to validate what they already think. A learner seeks truth, and that’s hard. Good leaders try hard to see things from contrary perspectives and gather information from as many different viewpoints as possible. They also work hard to both create a learning culture at their organizations and set an excellent example for their team of being a learner. Creating a learning culture at your organization is challenging but may be the best investment you can make.
Avoid Emotional Hijacking — I have heard that emotion always trumps logic. It is often hard to hold back our feelings, especially if we frame them as passion. However, the best leaders work hard to ensure they make sound, logical decisions and are do not let emotion hijack them. Passion is good; emotional hijacking is not.
These are just a few examples of the hard things that leaders must do. When something feels difficult to a leader, it should signal that it is likely necessary and needs immediate attention.
When I promote someone to a president role at one of our companies, I always tell them they are unprepared. This usually results in a quizzical look from the person being promoted. I share that they aren’t prepared because it is way easier to second guess what a leader should do than it is to have the responsibility to make tough decisions. Knowing that your choices will impact both your organization’s and people’s lives, for better or worse, can be very stressful. However, if a leader is going to be successful, protect their organization, and look out for their team, they must do the hard things.
One of the most important differentiators between mediocre and excellent leaders is that the best leaders are willing to tolerate discomfort and do the hard things.
So, don’t procrastinate; do them today.
Marina Bulletin Board
Starting January 1, 2023 all boaters age 50 and under are required to carry a California Boater Card. Get yours before the new year.
The following boating safety course providers are the only ones approved by the State of California and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Successfully completing a course from one of the providers below, and passing the exam, meets the qualifications to apply for a California Boater Card.
Ace Boater
  • Name of course: Safe Boating Course
  • Course Type: Online
  • Course Cost: $29.95
  • Customer Service: 1.800.607.2329
  • Certified through 2023
America’s Boating Club/U.S. Power Squadrons
  • Name of course: America’s Boating Course
  • Course Type: Classroom/Online
  • Course Cost: Varies
  • Customer Service: 1.888.367.8777
  • Certified through 2024
Boat Ed
  • Name of course: Boat California Course
  • Course Type: Online
  • Course Cost: $39.95
  • Customer Service: 1.800.830.2268
  • Certified through 2024
Boater Exam America
  • Name of course: BOATsmart! Boating Course
  • Course Type: Online
  • Course Cost: $34.95
  • Customer Service: 1.877.655.7778
  • Certified through 2024
  • Name of course: California Boater Education
  • Course Type: Online (English & Spanish)
  • Course Cost: $24.00
  • Customer Service: 1.888.885.8830
  • Certified through 2023
BoatU.S. Foundation
California Division of Boating and Waterways
  • Name of course: Fastest Boat Course Allowed
  • Course Type: Online
  • Course Cost: $27.95
  • Customer Service: 1.800.810.3446
  • Certified through 2025
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
US Sailing/US Powerboating
  • Name of course: Basic Powerboat Cruising
  • Course Type: Classroom/On-the-water
  • Course Cost: Varies
  • Customer Service 1.401.683.0800
  • Certified through 2022
  • Name of course: Safe Powerboat Handling
  • Course Type: Classroom/On-the-water
  • Course Cost: Varies
  • Customer service: 1.401.683.0800
  • Certified through 2022
The State of California does not grant reciprocity beyond 60 days for out-of-state boaters in possession of his/her state issued boater card. Please view our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for more details.
Company Mission of “On-Time, On-Budget, Guaranteed”
Still Holds True
Marine Development Inc. (MDI), a decades-long industry leader specializing in new marina construction, expansions, restoration and repair, wave attenuators, fuel docks and more, announced today the purchase of the company by Mick Webber, a highly respected and long-time industry professional in the boat lifts and marina equipment markets.
Marine Development Inc. was founded in 1991 by Steve and Roger Otis with a commitment to producing outstanding and sustainable marina and dock solutions for its customers. Over the past 32 years, the company has sought and achieved a reputation for superior products and exceptional customer service in marine construction. MDI’s seasoned and expert staff designs, builds and installs floating docks for commercial marinas, pump stations, wave attenuators, fuel docks and ship's stores. Examples abound on lakes across America.
Webber, whose experience in the marine industry stretches more than 35 years and includes a deep understanding of next-generation docks, will lead his team while third- and fourth-generation members of the Otis family, Jeff and Jeremy Otis, will remain highly involved in day-to-day operations. Webber’s plan for the company is driven by innovation and developing strong industry relationships across the nation.
“We have such an amazing opportunity here to reach for more growth, while continuing an exceptional legacy laid out by the Otis family,” said Webber. “As has always been the case with MDI, we will fulfill our promises on-time and on-budget. I am eager to help MDI and the team focus on long-term sustainability and innovation. The key is retaining and developing the best people in the industry, maintaining exceptional support and delivering outstanding products to new and existing clients.”
“We’re really excited about the future of MDI with Mick and the team at the wheel,” said Roger Otis, Co-Founder, MDI. “While we are very proud of what we have established with the MDI brand, having the fresh perspective of an industry innovator will help us continue to grow and develop into the future. I will remain in a consulting role and members of our family will stay involved and continue to help position this company to be the best in the business. We are confident that the MDI and Otis names are in good hands.”
Mick Webber is past President and CEO of HydroHoist Marine Group (HMG) and sat on various industry boards. He spent 34 years with the company, with 14 as President, CEO and owner of HMG.
For more information about Marine Development Inc., visit 
About MDI: Marine Development Inc. designs, builds and installs floating docks for commercial marinas, pump stations, wave attenuators, fuel docks and ship stores. Their experience in the industry spans over 32 years, and their projects can be found in lakes waterways all across the United States. Seasoned experts in marine construction, MDI has developed and maintained a reputation for superior products and exceptional customer service, promising products delivered on time and on budget, guaranteed. For more information, visit
Michigan-based Tommy’s Boats Acquires California
Dealership With Two San Francisco-area Locations
Michigan, US-based boat dealer Tommy’s Boats has added two new locations to its national footprint with the acquisition of California-based dealership Larson Marine.
With retail locations in the communities of Stockton and Rancho Cordova, each about an hour-and-a-half from San Francisco, Larson Marine was established in 1969 with a focus on watersports, operating as a dealer for Malibu and Axis tow boats and Bennington pontoons. It also operates what has been described as northern California’s largest watersports accessories store.
“Larson Marine is a family-owned business that has bred a passionate, fun and professional culture focused on community – this is in lockstep with Tommy’s,” said Tommy’s Boats president, Matt Borisch. “We are honoured to be entrusted with growing the legacy of Bob and Craig Larson by adding such a strong team to the Tommy’s family. We could not be more excited to continue our growth in California.”
Both retail locations are expected to continue operations with no staff changes under the new ownership.
Founded in 1981, Tommy’s Boats operates 14 dealerships plus nine additional on-water rental programs in key US boating markets including California, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas. The firm has become among the largest waterski and wakeboard towboat dealers globally and one of the largest pontoon dealers in North America, offering boat sales, repair services, rental services and an extensive retail goods and apparel operation.
“We are grateful to have been a part of our customers’ and employees’ lives over the past 53 years. They are truly our extended family,” said Larson Marine owner, Craig Larson. “We are so excited for the future, as we are confident that those traditions and commitment to service will carry on with Tommy’s, in addition to the many benefits and opportunities Tommy’s will bring.”
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:
Dragon & Rat
Innovative Deck and Dock Solutions
Leisure Investment Properties Group
“Save the Date” for the 6th Annual California Boating Congress that will take place on August 11 & 12, 2023. The two-day event will begin with an evening reception, followed the next day by presentations, lunch and additional meetings with State Legislators. Planning is in the early stages and more information will be available early next year.
To our members, the website now requires an additional step when signing in. You will be prompted to provide confidential answers to questions before performing any other actions on the website. This will involve choosing four of nine possible questions to provide answers to. Once the questions and answers are set, you will then be able to proceed on the website as normal.
Our FREE Educational Series webinars are still available for viewing and can be accessed 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