The Association of Marina Industries says it will remain focused in the year ahead on its three pillars: being a voice of the industry; marina professionalism through training and certification; and providing up-to-date, accurate and critical information to members.
“AMI is growing,” says director Mark Amaral. “We are working hard to have stronger collaborative relationships — not only with the large marina chains and most successful facilities across the country, but also with state trade groups and their marina members.”
AMI held its annual member meeting in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 28, the first night of the annual International Marina & Boatyard Conference. Growth — within the organization, in membership and in AMI influence — is the key focus in the coming year, Amaral says.
Amaral says the largest area of membership growth is in Level 1 marinas, defined as those with 250 or fewer slips, and in the marina supplier category.
“We are excited about this year’s growth and delighted to have had so many marina and boatyard colleagues attend IMBC,” says AMI chairman Jeff Rose, senior vice president at Marinas International. A rebounding economy makes the IMBC the place for continuing education, meeting with industry suppliers and networking with other marina professionals, he says.
The AMI had a membership drive during the conference, a feature that was new this year. IMBC attendance continues to rise, Amaral says, and the numbers are drawn from marina managers who have been attending since before IMBC was actually IMBC and from many newcomers. “This year we had over 80 CMMs and CMOs attend their annual dinner, which we believe is the largest gathering of that group in any one place ever.”
The “certified marina manager” and “certified marina operator” designations are obtained through a mix of experiential and classroom learning. Successful candidates have to demonstrate five (CMM) and three (CMO) years of experience across a range of marina management functions. They also have to successfully complete intermediate and advanced schooling with AMI faculty. AMI calls the advanced education “our equivalent to an MBA program,” and says it is almost entirely participant-driven, culminating in a case study that requires the marina managers to completely redevelop a facility. Eight CMM certificates and one CMO certificate were presented at the IMBC. Information about obtaining the certificates is at the AMI’s website.
For the third year in a row, the International Marina Institute trained a record number of participants in its international marina management course. Twenty-eight people received training and 10 were wait-listed. AMI is working on OSHA and EPA webinars and planning the first certified marina manager retreat for March. It also is working with Boating British Columbia and the Northwest Marine Trade Association to deliver a West Coast intermediate marina management course and with a Brazilian marina constituent to bring training overseas.
The AMI says it continues to work in a legislative capacity on the state and national levels, including lobbying the Department of Labor to consider the marine industry for changes under the North American Industry Classification System code review, and continued efforts with the Angling & Boating Alliance to ensure that the sport fish restoration grant program remains funded.
The AMI continues its outreach program with memberships and sponsorships of several organizations and conferences, and it will be a co-host of the American Boating Congress this spring, Amaral says. The AMI has seats on the Recreational Boating Leadership Council and on the boards of the National Marine Marketing Association and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.
New on the horizon are a redesigned marina economic impact model and the first certified marina manager retreat, scheduled for March in Oklahoma.
Amaral says participant feedback will help the AMI make decisions about next year’s IMBC.
“We are in the process of completing a thorough [review] now,” he says. “We will take those lessons and make the necessary adjustments and innovations for 2016.”
AMI marketing and communications coordinator Katelyn McSherry says technology use increased at this year’s conference and she believes that trend will continue. “We would like to develop an IMBC app for next year,” she says.
The IMBC will shift to Fort Lauderdale in 2016, with Jan. 27-29 dates at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
Further information about the AMI is available at marinaassociation.org.
This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue.