ABYC president says to ‘fend off government regulations’

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The reason the American Boat and Yacht Council exists is to hold off government regulations by keeping boaters safe.

That’s according to ABYC president John Adey, who told Soundings Trade Only that builders who participate by becoming members have more influence on how regulations get written.

“Our customers and clients want less government and less government interaction,” Adey told Trade Only. “So if we can fend this off by preventing government intervention, we’re better for it.”

Becoming ABYC-compliant actually saves builders money in the long run, Adey says.

“Builders can argue on behalf of their companies so certain things they can’t comply with don’t happen,” Adey said. “There are certain companies that don’t see the value in that. If a boat company gets in an accident, and there have been several lately, they get sued to the tune of millions of dollars.”

A high-profile crash in 2009 was attributable to a boat not being properly lit.

“You’re looking at a high-profile accident that came down to one standard not being met,” Adey said. “The visibility standard I just mentioned is not in the federal regulations. The existence of ABYC is to fend off government regulations. The products have a mix of regulations and standards. ABYC’s existence is to make sure the government doesn’t come and give you more things to do that can’t change with technology because that becomes onerous and it becomes very expensive.”

Read more about ABYC and John Adey in the January issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Reagan Haynes

Comments

3 comments on “ABYC president says to ‘fend off government regulations’

  1. John McDevitt

    The boat builders should be more familiar with the ABYC Standards and some clearly are not. The NMMA needs to promote and influence the increased use and reference of the ABYC Standards as part of their mandate to their members.

    The Coast Guard and the CFRs have not and will not be making any changes to the rules for pleasure boats. As many other industries have already successfully, the boating industry should embrace a more robust approach to self regulation.

  2. Oldcoastie

    “The existence of ABYC is to fend off government regulations” John has his history a little mixed up. As a long time member of ABYC (1984) AND a USCG officer who worked in boating safety directly with ABYC on many projects, I find this statement confusing. It makes it sound like the USCG is out to impose new regulations on the boating industry. It clearly is not. Since the initial regulations in the 1970’s and 80’s mandated by the Federal Boat Safety Act, very few regulations have been proposed. The USCG would actually prefer that the industry regulate itself, and that is what ABYC does. There is no “fending off” necessary. If he thinks this will stop the EPA from imposing regulations he is seriously mistaken. They also have a mandate from Congress but they held off for many years before regulating boats and boat manufacturers. I sat on many of the meeting between the industry and the EPA and much of the final regulations were a result of industry input. He said it again at the ABYC annual meeting in Seattle. So it seems to be a theme. I think he would do well to drop this line from his presentations.

  3. Oldcoastie

    I might add, ABYC is a standards society, not an industry lobbyist. That function is carried out by NMMA, and that is where it should be.

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