State marine trade associations are scoring wins

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From Ohio to Massachusetts, Michigan to Rhode Island, marine trades associations continue to generate positive policies and programs for members. Here are a few examples worth recognizing.

Ohio applauds governor Members of the Boating Associations of Ohio applauded Gov. John Kasich for his executive order directing state agencies to begin a process that could lead to tighter restrictions on farming operations that are the biggest generators of nutrient runoff, which causes algae problems in Lake Erie and other Ohio waters.

The BAO has been critical of the administration and the state legislature for failing to take aggressive action to deal with the “green slime” issue. Kasich’s order acknowledges Lake Erie’s official “impaired” status and that previous measures to reduce nutrient runoff (all essentially voluntary) will not meet agreed-to targets with neighboring Michigan and Ontario of a 20 percent reduction by 2020 and a 40 percent reduction in phosphorus by 2025.

As expected, the Ohio Farm Bureau reacted sharply to Kasich’s order, saying the governor acted unilaterally and that the agriculture community was not included in the process, which could lead to regulations. But the BAO pointed out that voluntary studies and actions are inadequate.

“While we’re normally for less regulation,” said Bryan Ralston, BAO executive director, “we must recognize the algae is a dire situation that’s gone on too long and now requires some mandatory changes. This is just one step. What’s essential is that this serves as a catalyst for comprehensive action.”

Connecticut reduces tax The Connecticut Marine Trades Association is already seeing the benefits of the reduced sales tax on boat sales, which became effective July 1. CMTA executive director Kathleen Burns said the reduction helps Connecticut be more competitive with neighboring Rhode Island, New Hampshire and New York in attracting boaters.

The tax on the sale of boats, engines and trailers was reduced from 6.35 percent to 2.99 percent. The new rate applies to new or preowned boats whether purchased separately or as a package. It reduces the sales tax by 53 percent, with the savings calculated at around $1,000 per $30,000 purchased.

“It’s been noted that over the past years, when our tax rate was above 6 percent and higher than every other state on the East Coast without a cap, about 40 percent of our boat sales left the state, taking with them their service work, slips, moorings and storage,” Burns said. “The calculations show that for every 16 Connecticut boat registrations lost, the equivalent of one full-time job in the marine trades is also lost, and the decline has been impactful.”

Michigan grows Clean Marina list The Michigan Boating Industries Association is a strong supporter of the state’s Clean Marina program. So far this year, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of certified marinas. There are now 64 Clean Marinas in Michigan; the program’s goal is to certify 100 marinas by the end of year.

“All marinas in Michigan should be a certified Clean Marina,” said Nicki Polan, MBIA executive director. “It is not difficult, and there are both financial and environmental gains that come with this effort.”

Massachusetts grants awards The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association announced the recipients of this year’s Kids in Boating grant awards. Through the Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust, 16 grants totaling $13,100 were awarded. The grants range from $500 to $1,000, and are given to non-profits with successful and unique programs that get kids on the water in a safe and smart manner. This year’s recipients:

Bourne Community Boating

Boys & Girls Club of Lynn (Creighton Pond Camp)

Captain Chris Shaw Memorial Sail for Kids

Community Boating Center

• Friends of Scituate High School Sailing

Greater Fall River Re-Creation

Hingham Maritime Center

Outward Bound/Coast Guard Foundation

Piers Park Sailing Center

Pleasant Bay Community Boating

Sail Salem Community Boating

Save the Harbor / Save the Bay

South Shore YMCA

• Youth Group Church of the Holy Spirit

Sponsors include 3A Marine, Robalo Boats, Hingham Shipyard Marina and Newburyport Marinas.

Rhoda Island for zero plastics The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association and marina operators are partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to launch a “Zero Plastics Marina” initiative. The goal is for marinas and their guests to help clean Narragansett Bay now and into the future.

Marina and boatyard owners are urged to implement a program incorporating up to 10 suggested pollution prevention items that are applicable to their operations and business practices. Possible activities include:

• designate a “Zero Plastics” steward

• develop and implement a plan to reduce single-use plastic water bottles

• provide water refilling stations in public areas

• eliminate single-use plastic bags

• provide opportunities for recycling

• post responsible signage

• provide responsible dinnerware

• participate in a shrink-wrap recycling program

• organize or sponsor a clean-up event

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