NMMA Shares Latest State Boating Regulation News

As states continue to relax stay-at-home orders, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) advocacy team continues to monitor re-opening plans across the country as well as the impact on boating access, manufacturing, retail and large public events.

Earlier this week, NMMA and the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) partnered to release a new retail tracking map and resource page. This page will be updated weekly and can be found here.

Other NMMA COVID-19 state resources include guideline documents for boating accessmanufacturing and business resources and reopening. Additionally, NMMA created best practices for resuming operations for manufacturers to use as guidelines to reopen their facilities.

State legislatures are coming back into session or calling special sessions throughout the summer to deal with the effects of COVID-19. Legislatures will be reviewing state budgets and business relief bills like business interruption insurance and liability. NMMA will monitor these sessions with an eye toward protecting boating businesses and how the impacts of state financial crisis will impact boating.

Beyond the pandemic, conservation issues have surfaced in California and South Carolina, with both states considering bills that would enact protections for significant swaths of state land and waters. Endorsed by the United Nations in 2018, the initiative would protect 30 percent of a country’s land and water from environmental degradation to counteract climate change and the loss of biodiversity. The U.S. Congress also recently considered a resolution supporting the “30-30” goal.

While NMMA supports the legislation’s intent, the coalition seeks amendments that specify how and where the protection would be implemented and to assure that recreational fishing will be permitted.

On June 23, the Georgia State Legislature passed HB-833, which fixes several issues that unnecessarily restricted boaters’ access to anchor in all of Georgia’s tidal waters. The legislation now heads to Governor Kemp, who is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill amends a mandatory 1,000-foot anchoring setback distance from all waterfront structures and now allows docking for vessels 150 feet from a structure (including a private dock, pier, bridg, or wharf); 300 feet from a marina; and 500 feet from a shellfish bed.

Additionally, HB-833 creates “short term” (14 days) and “long term” anchoring, allowing a vessel to anchor for 14 cumulative days in the same location before needing to apply for a long-term anchoring permit.