MRA debuts name change at annual conference

Marine Recreation Association president Kevin Ketchum announced the group’s name change at the MRA’s 44th annual educational conference and trade show.
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Marine Recreation Association president Kevin Ketchum announced the group’s name change at the MRA’s 44th annual educational conference and trade show.

Previously known as the Marina Recreation Association, the group is a professional organization of marina and other marine industry owners and operators throughout the western United States. It also has members in Canada, Mexico and Australia.

The conference and trade show was held Oct. 26-28 at the Fess Parker, a DoubleTree by Hilton Resort, in Santa Barbara, Calif. More than 220 industry professionals attended.

"The industry and our membership have evolved beyond the scope of traditional marina services," Ketchum said at the conference. "We are engaged in a much broader range of water-based businesses that encompass not only marina facilities, but also boatyard, marine sales and services, hospitality, resort and other outdoor recreation operations. The new name, Marine Recreation Association, better reflects our expanded focus and direction."

The MRA said its board has been developing strategic plans that include expanded outreach to legislators and boaters through the California Boating Congress, an event planned for March in Sacramento.

The MRA said it also will work with other boating organizations to engage the new Department of Boating & Waterways Working Group, seeking better communications and relations with the California agency and improved boating programs.

Longtime marine industry professional Pat Bagan was appointed to the MRA staff to facilitate regional training and educational programs and as liaison with the California Boating Congress and Clean Marinas organizations.

"We're excited about moving forward in the future with our new identity and expanded mission," MRA operations administrator Mariann Timms said.

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