Great Lakes boating pioneer dies

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Jim Sima, an icon in the Ohio marine industry, died last week at the age of 82. He founded Sima Motors Corp. in 1953 in Maple Heights, Ohio, and expanded the business into boat sales under the Sima Marine Sales banner in 1956.

During his more than 50 years in the industry, Sima was a leader of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and the only member to serve as the organization’s chairman on three different occasions.

In 1973, Sima was chairman of the show committee that initiated the North American In-Water Sail and Power Boat Show at Cedar Point, the largest in-water show held annually on the Great Lakes. In addition, he served on virtually every other LEMTA committee, from membership to legislative relations.

Sima was a founder of the Marine Trades Association of Ohio, known today as the Boating Associations of Ohio. On the national level, he was a founding member of the board of directors of the Marine Retailers Association of America, and later served as MRAA chairman from 1977-79.

— Norm Schultz

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