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Boating legislation pending in six states

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is tracking legislation in six states that would affect the boating industry:

  • Oklahoma proposes to include personal watercraft dealers under auto franchise bill protections. PWC dealers would get the protections provided to automobile and power-sport vehicle franchise dealers under SB 755. The bill, which was prefiled, will not be considered until the legislature convenes on Feb. 7. The franchise law was created primarily for the automobile industry, making it a poor fit for marine vessels, according to the NMMA.
  • Lemon laws are being considered in two states. Bills have been introduced in Connecticut (HB 546) and Pennsylvania (SB 95) to expand lemon laws to include boats. Both states previously considered and failed to pass such legislation. Lemon laws cannot accommodate the unique nature of boats, given the multiple warranties and options that are associated with many boats, the NMMA said.
  • Dealer/manufacturer contract requirements are included in Mississippi legislation. A bill that would establish numerous requirements for contracts between marine dealers and manufacturers has been introduced in the Mississippi House. The legislation could be heard prior to a deadline on Tuesday and is being closely monitored.
  • Mississippi is also considering life jacket legislation. Everyone under the age of 18 and aboard a boat less than 26 feet would be required to wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket under HB 934. It is unclear whether the bill will get a committee vote prior to a Tuesday deadline. The bill will not be eligible for further hearings or votes if it does not.
  • Mandatory boater safety education is before the Nebraska legislature. Under LB 105, all boaters born after Jan. 1, 1985 would have less than a year to complete a boating safety course. The short time allotted for compliance is a concern and the NMMA will lobby the legislature to lengthen the time period and ensure that online learning is allowed.
  • A ban on cell phone use was introduced in New Jersey. Boaters would be banned from texting or using cell phones while operating a boat if the legislature enacts AB 3312. Although the bill has not been heard by a committee, the NMMA and the New Jersey Marine Trades Association are watching it closely.

For information, contact David Dickerson at (202) 736-9761 or ddickerson@nmma.org.

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