Industry mourns boat-regulations pioneer

International Marine Certification Institute pioneer Lars Erik Granholm died April 5. He was 81.
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International Marine Certification Institute pioneer Lars Erik Granholm died April 5. He was 81.

Born in Finland in 1934, Granholm immigrated in 1961 to the United States, where he joined Outboard Marine Corp.

From 1974 to 1981 he authored small boat regulations while serving as the project manager for standards development with the Coast Guard.

In 1981 he joined the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association, establishing the NMMA certification programs.

In that position he proposed that the NMMA and several European Union industry associations found a globally working organization to certify recreational boats, their components and engines. That organization went on to become the International Marine Certification Institute.

The International Marine Certification Institute was registered as an international nonprofit organization in June 1993 and is still based in Brussels, Belgium. Today IMCI is the market leader in CE certification in the global boating industry.

When Granholm retired as the IMCI’s managing director, he was appointed chairman of the board until the end of 2004.

That year he received the NMMA’s Charles F. Chapman Award for lifetime achievement in the marine industry. The award recognizes individuals or groups that have provided consistent promotion and protection of the sport of boating, resulting in benefits to the industry and public.

Granholm, who wished to be buried in Finland, leaves behind his wife, Leena, children and grandchildren.

“Lars was the best teacher and mentor to me. He made IMCI more than 20 years ago, and we still stick to most of his philosophies. I wish Leena and the Granholm family all the strength they will need in a future without him,” IMCI managing director Ulrich “Uli” Heinemann said in a statement.

Heinemann was Lars Granholm’s successor in 1999 and still holds the position.