Proposal seeks to craft model-year guidelines

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The Coast Guard is reviewing a proposal by marine associations to enforce manufacturer model-year guidelines.

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and the National Marine Manufacturers Association came together to submit the consensus proposal.

The Coast Guard’s definition of a boat’s model year begins Aug. 1 and ends July 31. However, for many years, boatbuilders have produced new vessels on their own timeline.

This spring, the industry learned that the Coast Guard began enforcing the Aug. 1 model-year start date, leaving builders with compliance problems that would require the shutdown of boatbuilding facilities for as long as eight weeks during the summer.

After a meeting with the Coast Guard, the NMMA was asked to work with the recreational boating industry to develop a consensus position on the definition and enforcement of the model year. Board members from the MRAA and NMMA met to develop a recommendation and have since submitted it to the Coast Guard. It was the first time on record that the two associations have come together to develop a workable solution.

It would keep the model year target date at Aug. 1, but it includes a 61-day grace period prior to Aug. 1 during which new model year products may be shipped.

The proposed solution includes two exemptions: Builders of boats 30 feet and larger will have the freedom to designate model year without regard to the Aug. 1 target date and grace period, and manufacturers may introduce an entirely new model at mid-year with the next-model-year designation.

“Through a commitment to partnership and cooperation, the industry has come together to develop this important proposed solution,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “We anxiously await feedback from the Coast Guard.”

“What makes me proud about this recommendation is that although both sides of this conversation came into the meeting with very disparate positions, after hours of constructive conversation we were able to walk out with a recommendation that we could all live with,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn said in a statement.

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