Kudos to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on vetoing a bill that would have lowered the state’s standards for ships dumping ballast water into the Great Lakes. The bill sat for months in the Michigan House because Snyder was hesitant to sign it, citing his concerns for invasive species. The lawmakers pushed it through on the last day of their session before summer break, and the governor clearly was not on board.
The Great Lakes already deals with dozens of invasive species brought in over many years in the ballast water of foreign ships entering through the St. Lawrence Seaway until stricter requirements were put in place. Gov. Synder correctly wanted to make sure that those protections remain solid and in place when dealing with something as critical as ballast water discharge in the Great Lakes, which account for 20 percent of the world’s fresh water. Michigan borders on four of the five Great Lakes.
A tip of the cap to Yamaha Marine Group for joining forces with the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas to further marine dealership growth and success. In announcing the effort to encourage dealer participation, Yamaha will offer co-op funds to dealers for the first year of MRAA membership and/or co-op funds to become a Marine Industry Certified Dealership.
By becoming MRAA members, Yamaha dealerships have the opportunity to benefit from advanced dealer training courses, more than 20 business-enhancing benefits (including a new health insurance program), improved workforce development programs and the annual Marine Dealer Conference & Expo.
“Yamaha’s relationship with MRAA helps to align our dealerships with a strong advocate organization for the marine industry,” said John Rigsby, division manager, Yamaha Dealer Sales and MRP. “As more of our dealerships become members, the collective power of the marine industry voice gets stronger, which is especially important right now, for example, as we fight for the passage of the Modern Fish Act.”
A salute to the Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust in announcing its Kids in Boating initiative has reopened its grant application for a second year. Recognizing the need to get more kids on the water and enjoying the boating lifestyle, the MMTA created the MMTET initiative in 2017 with great success. The focus is to help support nonprofit youth boating programs. The goal is to challenge these programs to get more kids on the water in a safe and smart manner.
A preference in the grant program is given to MMTA members and especially organizations with creative new ideas to get more kids on the water. In 2017, the Kids in Boating initiative awarded 11 grants from $500 to $1,500 each and totaling approximately $11,000. This year the grant application cycle ran from March 15 to June 30, and the awards are slated to be announced and distributed later this month.
“Recognizing the fact that the boating industry is aging, the more we can do today to get more young people involved in recreational boating, the better off our industry will be tomorrow,” said Randall Lyons, MMTA executive director and founder of the initiative. “In addition, creating an interest in boating at a young age may open the door to more career avenues for marine-related jobs in the future, another key initiative for boating associations and the industry. The opportunities go hand-in-hand in supporting the sustainability of the boating industry for many generations to come.”
And a shout-out to the following sponsors of this Kids in Boating program: 3A Marine, Robalo Boats, Hingham Shipyard Marinas and Newburyport Marinas.
There’s possible money to help build transient docks. It’s called the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (aka the BIG). Notice of Funding Opportunities has been posted with applications due to the federal BIG office by Sept. 10. Applications must be made through the states; check for deadlines to submit.
The Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 1998 established BIG P to provide funding for the construction, renovation and maintenance of boating infrastructure facilities for transient recreational vessels of at least 26 feet that are operated, leased, rented or chartered primarily for pleasure. BoatUS is credited with being the primary force behind getting such legislation passed by Congress.
Projects can include docks, restroom and laundry facilities, fuel systems and docks, aids to navigation and more. There are two funding tiers. Tier one is for projects under $200,000, with grant distribution determined by each state. Tier two grants are for projects up to $1.5 million and compete with similar-sized projects across the United States. Both grants require a minimum 25 percent match. More guidelines and criteria are available here.
Over the years, BIG P has funded transient boating facilities throughout the country. It’s a great example of how money from boating and fishing is returned to boaters and anglers, and it’s one of many beneficial programs that all boating interests monitor, guard and work hard to ensure they continue uninterrupted.