We are in the middle of peak boating season, a busy time for the recreational boating community, marine manufacturers and certification teams. While we’re seeing sales begin to stabilize following historic growth in 2020 and 2021, new-boat sales remain above prepandemic levels. For the second time in 15 years, first-time boat buyers exceeded 415,000, accounting for 34 percent of boat sales in 2021, driving growth for the boating industry and further reinforcing heightened demand for boats since the outset of the pandemic.
As the 2023 model year begins, it’s important to stay up-to-date with changes to industry standards. The American Boat and Yacht Council published the Standards and Technical Information Reports for Small Craft, Supplement 62, in late July. Included in this supplement are more than 15 standards updates, along with three new standards.
Of the three new standards, the ABYC E-30, Electric Propulsion Systems, was recently adopted into the NMMA Certification program. This standard addresses the design, construction and installation of alternating current and direct current electrical systems on boats for the purpose of propulsion.
The E-30 standard covers topics such as labeling and warnings, monitoring, grounding, battery switches and more. If you are building or plan to develop boats with electric propulsion systems, this standard is an excellent resource.
Updated standards include E-13, Lithium-Ion Batteries; S-32, Warnings and Safety Signs for Boats; T-33, Manufacturers Statement of Origin; A-32, AC Power Conversion Equipment and Systems; H-8, Buoyancy in the Event of Flooding/Swamping; H-24, Gasoline Fuel Systems; H-29, Canoes and Kayaks; H-30, Hydraulic Systems; H-35, Powering and Load Capacity of Pontoon Boats; H-37, Jet Boats - Light Weight; H-41, Reboarding Means, Ladders, Handholds, Rails and Lifelines; P-21, Manual Hydraulic Steering Systems; P-23, Mechanical Steering and Propulsion Controls for Jet Boats; S-30, Outboard Engine and Related Equipment Weights; S-31, Environmental Considerations for Systems and Components Installed Onboard Boats; T-1, Aluminum Applications for Boats and Yachts; TE-12, Three Phase AC Electrical Systems on Boats; TH-12, Outboard Engine Mounting Guide; TH-22, Educational Information about Carbon Monoxide; and TH-23, Design, Construction and Testing of Boats in Consideration of Carbon Monoxide.
We would like to remind builders of six things to keep in mind during model-year transition. With ongoing supply-chain challenges, it’s imperative for engineering and compliance teams to work with sourcing groups and ensure all components are designed for and approved for use in a marine environment.
The design group plays a decisive role in the new components and parts for the product line. The supply chain should include every possible component part switched over for the 2023 model year. Sales and marketing must effectively communicate and promote any product updates, from digital to brochures to e-mail. Logistics teams should ensure that everyone in the facility and warehouse have what they need, and that it is accounted for on the production floor. Production teams need to be aware of all new installations or changes that new components and accessories may bring.
And, last, NMMA Certified inspectors should be part of the process. Annual inspection schedules are filling up fast. Reach out to an NMMA inspector today to be inspected as early in the model year as possible, to mitigate potential exposure.
NMMA Certification is the premier product certification program for boats, yachts, boat trailers, personal watercraft and marine oils in the United States. It’s our mission to help marine manufacturers succeed in providing safe products for the boating industry. Many — but not all — boats are required to meet a set of minimum manufacturing regulations established by the Coast Guard. In the United States, NMMA Certification goes beyond Coast Guard standards to ensure adherence to ABYC standards. Manufacturers of NMMA Certified boats receive a detailed inspection and verification process; improved consumer confidence; increased brand respect; and liability protection and product liability insurance discounts.
For more information on NMMA Certification, visit nmma.org/certification.
This article was originally published in the August 2022 issue.