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Boat Shows, PPP Loans and GPS

The Northwest Yacht Brokers Association announced that its Seattle Boats Afloat Show returns this summer, as does the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association’s North Coast Harbor Boat Show.

After taking a year off, the popular Boats Afloat is slated to return to Lake Union Sept. 16-19 at Chandler’s Cove Marina. NYBA has produced the show since 1978; it’s the largest in-water show on the West Coast.

The show traditionally features hundreds of boats ranging from small inflatables to 100-plus-foot motoryachts and sailboats, along with exhibitors for everything from financing to repair yards.

Meanwhile, since its premiere in 2017, the North Coast Harbor Boat Show on the downtown Cleveland lakefront has been growing in popularity, both because of its in-water component and it’s unique setting. The show was cancelled last summer due to the pandemic.

Boats are displayed at the Rock & Dock Marina, so named because it’s connected to Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Also surrounding the marina basin are the world class Great Lakes Science Center, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum, the popular Nuevo Restaurant and daily sightseeing cruises aboard the Goodtime.

Concerned about inventory levels impacting the show, LEMTA plans to boost public appeal by adding a variety of events, such as water-safety features, live entertainment and activities that characterize the boating lifestyle. The show is slated for Sept. 10-12.

Alert: PPP Forgiveness Deadline

Marine businesses that took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program from the Small Business Administration in 2020 are facing a hard deadline and may have to apply for forgiveness now. Failure to do so on time will mean the PPP automatically becomes a loan, requiring recipients to start making payments.

The PPP funds automatically convert to a standard loan at 1 percent interest if a business does not apply to the SBA for forgiveness within 10 months of the end of the covered period under which they had to spend the money. For businesses that got an early PPP in April 2020, there was an eight-week covered period that put the deadline for applying for forgiveness in the middle of this month. Other PPPs operating under the more popular 24-week covered period could mean a deadline in September. Check with your banker or accountant now.

Saving GPS

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is urging support for legislation that will assure that the GPS units used on millions of boats will continue to work accurately, despite possible interference from 5G technology.

Specifically, the bill would require Ligado Networks, a satellite communications company, to reimburse businesses and consumers who are forced to replace their GPS receivers because of expected interference from Ligado’s L-Band spectrum.

When the Federal Communications Commission approved a Ligado application without a public hearing, it required Ligado to upgrade or replace impacted federal government devices. However, there is no requirement for Ligado to do the same for private devices. Experts contend there is valid concern that the creation of this 5G network on a frequency too close to that of GPS could render it useless and threaten the safety of boats and other users.

The Recognizing and Ensuring Taxpayer Access to Infrastructure Necessary for GPS and Satellite Communications Act of 2021 (the RETAIN Act) was introduced by U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.); and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).

MRAA and BoatUS join numerous organizations in boating, fishing and conservation to support this legislation and the importance of keeping boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts safe.

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