Congress Restores 35-Year
Exemption For Recreational Boats From Proposed EPA
Permitting Requirements No New Permits For Boats
In a remarkable
display of bipartisan support for recreational
boating, both the House and Senate today passed S.
2766, "The Clean Boating Act of 2008" which will
permanently restore a long-standing exemption for
recreational boats from permitting requirements
under the Clean Water Act. The legislation now goes
to the White House for the President's signature.
Congressional action was spawned by a U.S. District
Court decision in September 2006 under which an
estimated 17 million recreational boats would have
fallen under Clean Water Act permit requirements
effective September 30, 2008. The permit would have
dictated maintenance and operation procedures and
potentially subjected boaters to citizen lawsuits as
well as a penalty system designed for industrial
"This is a fabulous victory for common sense and it
just goes to show what can be done when the boating
public, the marine industry, and its representatives
in Congress row together in a bipartisan way," said
BoatU.S. President Nancy Michelman.
BoatU.S. Government Affairs Director Margaret
Podlich was quick to shower praise on a boatload of
legislators who did much of the heavy lifting
including Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Barbara Boxer
(D-CA) and Representatives Jim Oberstar (D-MN),
Steve LaTourette (R-OH), Candice Miller (R-MI) and
Gene Taylor (D-MS). A complete listing of all
legislators involved will be available at
BoatU.S. has worked for more than a year with the
National Marine Manufacturers Association and a
broad coalition of stakeholders to resolve the
problem before the permitting deadline.
"One of the real keys to success here was our
collective ability to activate the grassroots," said
Podlich, noting that tens of thousands of letters
and e-mails were generated by boaters and anglers
over the course of the past 12 months.
BoatU.S. is the nation's leading advocate for
recreational boat owners with over 650,000 members.
Lakeland Boatworks, Inc.
to Open Showroom/Retail Store in Syracuse, NY
Lakeland Boatworks, Inc., a marine manufacturer of
wood/composite recreational watercraft of their own
design, has negotiated a lease for 499 S. Warren St.
in Syracuse, NY. The site will be developed by
Lakeland to be their first showroom/retail store
outside of Michigan. Consisting of approximately
5,000 square feet, Lakeland's new showroom will
serve as the anchor tenant for the nine story
commercial building across the street from the
Syracuse Hotel and Towers development, the Galleria
Complex and is a short walk from the popular shops
at Amory Square. In addition to displaying the
company designed recreational watercraft, Lakeland
will be offering marine accessories and gifts, fowl
weather gear, marine engines from their three OEM
partners, Nissan Marine, Volvo Penta and Yanmar, and
marine electronics. Restoration and repair services
through Lakeland's manufacturing facility in
Middleville can be marketed through the company
showroom as well.
"We chose Syracuse as the site for our flagship
store, due to it's proximity to the Finger Lakes
regions of New York, the boating culture that exists
there and the huge investment in re-development in
business district," said Joe Rahn,
Lakelands' president. "In this age of relationship
marketing, the Lakeland Syracuse showroom and retail
store allows us to know all of our customers by
name. By having direct oversight of the
manufacturing, distribution and sales functions of
our business, we can assure that the customer has
direct access to knowledgeable staff and that they
are getting the best service and value possible."
BOATU.S. Reaches Milestone 50,000 Radio
One-button Mayday Feature Improves Marine Safety
Boat Owners Association of the United States
(BoatU.S.) has registered its 50,000th boat owner
with an enhanced VHF radio that will greatly improve
their safety on the water. The registrations are
part of a free service the Association launched in
2000 to enable boaters to take advantage of the U.S.
Coast Guard's new Rescue 21 coastal radio system.
Rescue 21 enhances distress communications, speeds
up search and rescue response time, provides more
accurate direction-finding, and eliminates VHF radio
BoatU.S. was the first non-government entity to
offer registration of VHF radios with the Digital
Selective Calling (DSC) feature under an agreement
with the Coast Guard and the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). Registration is necessary to
obtain a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI)
number, which is then programmed into the radio by
the boater. In an emergency, the MMSI is encoded in
the SOS transmission, which will also help reduce
hoax distress calls.
By registering a DSC VHF radio with BoatU.S., key
information such as a boat description and owner
contact phone numbers, is logged into the Coast
Guard's national MMSI database used by search and
rescue personnel. The greatest benefit of a DSC
radio is its ability to connect to a GPS or Loran
receiver and automatically transmit the position of
the vessel in distress, along with the MMSI number,
all with the push of one "mayday" button.
"Now that Rescue 21 covers over 15,000 miles of
coastline, we know that the use of this technology
is taking the 'search' out of search and rescue and
already saving lives," said Nancy Michelman,
president of BoatU.S. "This 50,000 registration
milestone also demonstrates what can be done when we
partner with the federal government to create
programs that benefit the entire boating community."
While Rescue 21 is not yet operational in all
regions, commercial ships are required to monitor
Ch. 70. To register your DSC VHF radio and get your
MMSI number or to see a schedule of Rescue 21
installations, go to http://www.BoatUS.com/MMSI Also
at this site is a free BoatU.S. DSC VHF radio
tutorial, "Can You Hear Me?".
Boaters Need To
Check Their Marina Slip Contract Against Their
Boat’s Insurance Policy
Do You Have the Coverage You Need?
Before you sign your annual slip contract with your
marina this year, be sure to read it carefully - it
may obligate you to pay more than just the slip fee
as marinas are inserting language in their slip
contracts that shift the marina’s legal liability to
the slip holder in an effort control increasing
marina insurance costs.
“What this means in real terms, for example, is if a
boater’s guest is injured due to the marina’s
negligence and sues the marina, or a boat is damaged
by the marina and it declines to pay for repairs,
the boat owner could be responsible for defending
the marina and paying any amounts that the marina is
responsible for,” said BoatU.S. Vice President of
Underwriting, Jim Nolan.
“In the insurance industry it’s called contractual
liability,” said Nolan, noting that such slip
contract language includes terms like “hold harmless
and indemnify” and “defend and indemnify”. “If they
see this language, boaters should check to make sure
that their boat’s insurance policy provides them
with coverage for these types of contractual
liabilities before they sign their slip or storage
contract,” he added.
If the boat insurance policy does not include
contractual liability coverage, boaters could find
themselves paying big money out of pocket for
injuries, defense lawyers and possibly property
damage to their own boat because the “hold harmless”
provision may insulate the marina from paying for
damages it may have caused.
“Many boat insurance policies exclude contractual
liabilities and do not allow a boater to simply sign
away their insurer’s right to be reimbursed for boat
damage caused by the marina,” added Nolan.
BoatU.S. marine insurance policies provide
contractual liability coverage assumed under a boat
storage or slip rental contract. For more
information or an online quote, visit
http://www.BoatUS.com/Insurance or call
New Rescue Boat Hits The Water on White Bear Lake
White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi Will Share
The Used Federal Vessel
Water rescues, diving operations ,and boat fire
hose-downs will be performed aboard a new vessel on
White Bear Lake this year.
The White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi fire departments
recently purchased a 22-foot water rescue boat
through a federal grant program that netted the city
the boat at a greatly reduced cost.
The boat will be shared by the departments and is
currently being outfitted with twin 100 horsepower
engines and a water pump.
Fire fighters have been clamoring for such a vehicle
for years, said Tim Vadnais, White Bear Lake's fire
chief. But without the grant program, which is
designed to redistribute surplus military and other
equipment from federal agencies to fire departments,
the boat would have cost the city over $100,000.
"I could never find room in the budget," Vadnais
But when the opportunity to snatch the 22-footer for
$3,000 came up, the department was excited. The boat
allows the White Bear Lake and Mahtomedi fire
departments to retire the smaller boats that their
water divisions have outgrown.
"Our dive and rescue program has greatly expanded in
recent years," Vadnais said.
The departments have personnel trained for dive
operations, whereas in the past such work was done
by larger agencies. In addition to dive operations,
the boat will have hoses that will allow fire
fighters to pump lake water onto lakeside fires.
The new boat was previously used in Coast Guard or
Naval operations off the east coast, Vadnais said.