1 Page 1 of 11 February 2014 Nautical News From The Helm In This Issue * From The Helm * Legislative Update * Randy Short Appointed Commissioner * Legal Corner * American Boating Congress * Construction Corner * Remembering Kip * For The Marina Bulletin Board * The Last Word * Trade Member Highlight * Welcome New Members * The Last Word On behalf of the Board of Directors for MRA, I'd like to welcome all our new members that have joined us the last few months. Ours is an organization founded on the premise that marina operators are stronger when they come together. For over forty-two years, MRA has been fortunate to have had such great leadership coming from hands-on marina owners and operators. The original founders, Frank Hoffman (Delta), Bob Cooper (Delta), Dick Kelsey (Camanche Lake), and Dave Munroe (Englebright Lake) realized that they were in a unique kind of business and could help each other. They began an annual get-together of friends, peers and marine trade vendors. From this humble beginning, MRA is the largest marina association west of the Mississippi. When I think of the good old days, having fun boating is at the top of my list. It is easy to get bogged down by the "business side" of providing services to the boating public. Year after year, there appears to be one more burden put upon us by legislators and regulators that seem to treat us as if we were the enemy. If it's not a lack of water then it's too much copper in the water we've got to deal with. And the list goes on as to the hurdles we all face in trying to provide the boating public with quality services. But let's not lose sight of the simple fact that boating is fun. After all, that is why there is a marina industry. MRA is dedicated to bringing FUN back into focus. Fun is not a dirty word. A successful marina creates an environment where customers and staff have fun being around each other. Owners and executives need tokeep the stress part of the business to themselves - inwardly disciplined and enthusiastic about boating. Boating is innately enjoyable and the best marina adds to the experience. It's all about having fun. Frank, Bob, Dick and Dave knew how to have fun andhad a vision for the future of the marina industry. It's time we get back to basics and make sure to have some fun. R. Kevin Ketchum President
2 Page 2 of 11 Legislative Update Mandatory Boater Education Back in the Spotlight By: Bill Krauss For several years now there has been ongoing discussions and proposed legislation aimed at creating a mandatory boater education program in the state of California. This year, SB 941 (Monning - DeSaulnier) has been introduced that continues that debate of this often-times divisive issue. It has taken several years to get to this point beca use, as one can imagine, there are a great number of details to work out and a wide variety of opinions to consider. After receiving input from the various boating and marine organizations we represent, it is fair to say that some think this bill does not go nearly far enough and other are concerned it goes too far. While there may be divergent opinions on this bill, if it does become law it should provide an opportunity to test the value of such a program and should further changes be necessary, this bill is a good foundation from which to build. In my opinion, it is always best to tackle such complex issues with incremental change, rather than attempt to plan for every contingency in one attempt...something about eating an elephant one bite at a time comes to mind! As to the specifics of the bill, it became clear as the debate has unfolded over the years that there were a few concepts that were generally acceptable, if not ideal, for all parties. Those concepts are embodied in this bill, as follows: The first principle was that any requirement should be a mandatory test and not a requirement to take and pass a course. Some were very concerned that a substantial training regime might be implemented that would be a barrier to recruit new boaters. Although a "test only" approach is the minimum requirement, those boaters that choose to participate in a more substantive training course will be allowed to use that course to meet the requirements of the law. Secondly, it was agreed that the program focus on education and not licensing. The reasoning was that if this is mandatory "education" then once the boater is educated on the necessary subjects, then certification should be for life, unlike the limited and revocable nature of a license. Again, there is some disagreement on this point, but this seemed to be were the consensus formed. Thirdly, it was agreed that the testing should be limited to questions about basic safety, vessel operation and rules of navigation. Again, with sensitivity toward driving people away from boating, there was concern that extensive questioning on subjects not directly related to recreational boating might prove to be a hindrance.
3 Page 3 of 11 Finally, there was a need to focus on the unique operations of rental businesses. There needed to be provisions that allow a vessel rental operator to quickly give a customer a test without forcing that customer to take the more extensive test. The author included provisions at our request to allow for a locally developed test, as well as an abbreviated online test produced by the Division of Boating and Waterways, that ensures some training without causing a potential customer to decide against renting the vessel. All things considered, this bill is generally reflective of the views of the various boating interests we represent and will be supported by some while others are not ready to offer such support. It is our goal to work with our various clients over the year to see if we can find as much common ground as possible so that we can make this the best bill possible. California Boating and Waterways Commission Randy Short Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the California Boating and Waterways Commission Randy Short has been president of Almar Management Inc., a marina management company, since Almar Management operates 17 marinas throughout California, Hawaii and Mexico. Short was Chief Operating Officer of Almar Management, Inc., from 1988 to He has extensive experience with all aspects of marina operations, design and construction. Short has designed and built marinas in California, Hawaii and Mexico, including the beautiful marina at Cabo San Lucas and the Honolulu resort marina at Ko Olina. Prior to coming to the marina industry he spent twenty years in the ski resort business, mostly at Mammoth Mountain, where he held various management positions including his last position as mountain manager for Mammoth/June Ski Resorts June Mountain operation. Short is on the board of the Marina Recreation Association and of the Association of Marine Industries. He is also a member of the national Recreational Boating Leadership Council which is assessing the future direction of the marine industry. Short is also a member of the Channel Islands Harbor Foundation. This foundation, among other things, gives grants to underprivileged children that want to learn to sail. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Short is a Republican. Legal Corner
4 Page 4 of 11 ARMSTRONG V. MANHATTAN YACHT CLUB - THE BATTLES OVER WHAT IS A "VESSEL" RAGE ON An interesting case that is typical of the many legal battles that continue to rage over what is defined as a "vessel" is the recent case of Armstrong v. Manhattan Yacht Club. As some will recall, the United States Supreme Court itself weighed in last year on the debate over what a "vessel" was as in the case of Lozman v, Riviera Beach. In that case, the Supreme Court considered whether a "floating home" was a "vessel" and concluded it was not. However, the Supreme Court's decision in Lozman did little to quiet the storms swirling around the definition of a "vessel." Indeed, the Lozman decision may have spawned a whole new round of litigation regarding the definition of a "vessel" in the maritime context. At the heart of the problem, defining the word "vessel" for maritime purposes is the extremely broad definition of the term under federal statutory law. The word 'vessel' includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water." 1 U.S.C. Â 3. Using the statutory definition as an anchor for their arguments, parties wishing to have an expansive or a narrow definition of the term - depending on the reasons driving their desire for such a definition - have been arguing over the definition of "vessel" for years. As indicated above, the Supreme Court's decision in Lozman only dealt with whether a "floating home" was a "vessel" for maritime purposes. In Armstrong, a federal judge in New York had to decide whether a structure called "the Clubhouse" was a "vessel" for the purposes of establishing whether the plaintiff, Armstrong, a worker who was injured while working aboard "the Clubhouse" could maintain a claim for personal injuries against the Manhattan Yacht Club under the Jones Act. In Armstrong, if "the Clubhouse" was deemed a "vessel," Armstrong could maintain his Jones Act claim. If it was not, Armstrong could not maintain the Jones Act claim. Consequently, plaintiffs in such cases would really prefer to proceed under the much more generous Jones Act against their employers; rather than be limited to state law workers compensation or Long Shore Act workers compensation remedies. Insofar as Jones Act litigation is concerned, the stakes have always been fairly high - and are expected to remain so. By way of background, the Armstrong court found that "the Clubhouse" was a twostory floating platform that was held in place by two forty-foot vertical steel shafts secured to the seabed, known as "spuds." "The Clubhouse" was anchored to the seabed by a four-point anchoring system. "The Clubhouse" was rectilinear in shape feet wide and 76.8 feet long. During the sailing season (May through October), "the Clubhouse" was moored in New York Harbor. During the winter, to protect it from harsh weather, "the Clubhouse" was moored in a protected harbor. "The Clubhouse" was incapable of moving between these two locations on its own. To move it, the Club had to hire a crane barge to remove the spuds and then tow "the Clubhouse" to its new location. "The Clubhouse" had no engine, steering mechanism, or raked bow; and lacked running lights, radar, navigational aids, crew and lifeboats. However, "the Clubhouse" was listed as a "PASSENGER BARGE" on its Certificate of Inspection on file with the United States Coast Guard ("U.S.C.G."). Nevertheless, as a
5 Page 5 of 11 condition of the Club's operation of the Clubhouse, the Certificate states that: "PASSENGERS SHALL ONLY BE CARRIED WHEN VESSEL IS ANCHORED, MOORED, OR MADE FAST (SPUD) TO BOTTOM. The Club used "the Clubhouse" as a viewing platform for Club members to watch various yacht races occurring in New York Harbor. "The Clubhouse" consisted of a viewing platform and a bar that serves alcoholic beverages, known as the "Champagne Bar." The Club did not use "the Clubhouse" to transport passengers. I provide the factual background above to demonstrate just how fact-driven the analysis of "what is a vessel" is. What I will not do is recite the several pages of legal analysis that the court went through until it finally concluded that "the Clubhouse" was not a vessel and, therefore, the plaintiff could not maintain a claim against his employer, the Club, under the Jones Act. What I will mention, however, is that the court thought it was important that "the Clubhouse" did not transport either passengers or cargo. At best, it only transported its own furnishings and equipment when towed to and from its various locations. The court also pointed out that "the Clubhouse's" main purpose was to serve as a viewing platform - not as a means of transportation of anything. The foregoing are all reasonable observations but many maritime attorneys will quickly point out that oil and gas "jack up rigs" in the Gulf of Mexico do not transport either cargo or passengers - must be moved by tow boats - and their main purpose is to drill for oil and gas - not as a means of transportation. However, these rigs have been classified as "vessels" for Jones Act purposes for years. The Armstrong court seemed to acknowledge this line of cases in referring to the Lozman case, as well as other recent Fifth Circuit cases, that seem to narrow the definition of a "vessel." The court asserted that these recent cases "sent a shot across the bow of those lower courts that have endorsed the 'anything that floats' approach." However, the court did not attempt to analyze the "jack up rig" cases - and rightly so. It had more than enough to do analyzing and reaching a decision in the case before it. So the Armstrong court came down on the side of a more restrictive definition of "vessel" in that case, following what it believed was a more restrictive approach by the Supreme Court, as indicated in its recent decision in Lozman. However, given the broad statutory definition of "vessel," the fact-driven analysis necessary to determine whether a structure is - or is not - a "vessel," and the high stakes driving the arguments by both side (Jones Act claim or no Jones Act claim), it seems doubtful that the battles over the definition of "vessel" will subside anytime soon. Indeed, there appear to be a good many more battles over this definition to come. Should you have any questions about this article or other legal issues, feel free to contact me at or at American Boating Congress
6 Page 6 of 11 Join us at the American Boating Congress May 5-7, 2014 in Washington D.C. to speak with Members of Congress about our industry and create a louder voice for recreational boating on Capitol Hill. Elected officials listen when their constituents talk. Your voice is our most valuable asset! Register Today! Construction Corner New Marina Helps Alleviate Slip Shortage in Metro Vancouver Canada's newest marina, Milltown Marina, sits on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver, B.C. in a well-protected basin on the North Arm of the Frasier River on Richmond Island. Following, almost four years of permitting hurdles and a year of construction, Milltown opened its doors in October Want to read back issues of The marina's wet slips cater to vessels 30' to 80' in length with a capacity for 220 vessels. The floating concrete docks are terracotta colored with rounded finger ends. The inspiration for the dock's color was taken from a high-end megayacht marina in the British Virgin Islands that was also built by Bellingham Marine. Full utilities are provided at all slips. The marina also includes a dry storage building for vessels under 30' in length as well as a restaurant and club house. According to an earlier article that ran in Marpole Online, the island was originally a sand bar. Then a cannery was built on the island and, eventually, a sawmill. The site was in disrepair from years of neglect and heavy industrial use. Following a comprehensive cleanup effort of the waters and the upland property as well as a number of habitat restoration measures, the area is coming back to life. An old creosote contaminated retaining wall was replaced with a "green wall" to encourage plant life, sunken logs, concrete and rebar were removed from the
7 Page 7 of 11 Marina Recreation Association E-Newsletters? Visit Our Website slough floor, and a new bird and wildlife habitat islet was created at the mouth of the slough. In January 2013, Bellingham Marine was awarded a design/build contract for the construction of the marina. Bellingham's scope of work included dock and electrical design, dock installation and supply of electrical equipment. Because of licensing requirements in Canada, Bellingham Marine was not able to self-perform the electrical work. Developers of the marina and upland property hope that the new facility will help provide some relief from chronic moorage shortages for Metro Vancouver boat owners as well as provide new public access to Richmond Island for residents seeking recreational activities and a chance to reconnect with the riverfront. Currently, waiting lists for moorage in Vancouver can stretch up to eight years. For more information about Milltown Marina visit their website at or contact Bellingham Marine at Remebering Kip Korth Kipling Thorsten Korth Kip Korth passed away on February 8 in the California Delta where he was born and raised. He was 55. Kip was born in Lodi, CA to Lloyd and Pam Korth of Isleton. He was a graduate of Rio Vista High School. In his 20's, he was a commercial cray fisherman in the California Delta. Upon his father's retirement in 1992, he joined the family business at Korth's Pirates Lair Marina on Andrus Island to oversee the marina as harbormaster. Kip always had a penchant for beautifying and improving his surroundings, which he did at all three marinas that he oversaw, Korth's, Ox Bow Marina and Willow Berm. The family requests that donations be made to Restore the Delta at restorethedelta.org or Trinity Parkway, Ste. 120, Stockton, CA For The Marina Bulletin Board
8 Page 8 of 11 Boaters: Have a Hassle-Free Summer by Doing Seven Winter Projects Now Boaters can get frustrated when a repair or upgrade takes a long time, but delays are often a simple result of supply and demand. "Spring and summer can be the most challenging times to get work done on a boat because everyone else wants their work at the same time," said BoatUS Director of Consumer Affairs Charles Fort. But with a little foresight boaters can get the services they need - sometimes at a better price - now. And some things on a winter "to do" list don't require outside help. Here are some common projects boaters should be looking at doing now, before the spring rush: Engine and Prop: Getting your boat's motor worked on in June is like waiting to buy Billy Joel tickets at the door. Get your mechanic on it now if you have a project in mind. It's also the time to have the dings taken out of the prop - your prop shop guy will be glad to see you. Canvas and Sails: Canvas and sail lofts are notoriously cyclical businesses so don't feel guilty about asking for a discount on winter work. Now is the time to get the new bi mini top made, repair the camper canvas, or get the sail stitched up. Wiring: Every boater needs an extra 12V outlet at the helm, or knows of a corroded wire or two somewhere on the boat that needs fixing. If you want to take on this project yourself, here are some tips on wiring: Paint and varnish: Generally you need warm weather for these projects - but consider taking home hatch boards, tiller handles or wood trim projects and working on them now in well ventilated basement or heated garage. Line splicing: Maybe it's an extra long spring line you've always wanted, or dock lines that will actually fit your boat's cleats. Curl up by fire, sing a sea chantey, and start splicing because you will never want to do this in the summer. Here's how to do it: Chart and Electronics updates: Does your chart plotter use an old chip or are you using the same paper chart you had 10 years ago? Your helm electronics software may also have downloadable updates that make them perform better. Do a winter tackle box overhaul: You're never going to want to do this once the fish start biting. BoatUS Angler pro Steve Chaconas shows how to get your tackle box into shape at: About BoatUS: Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half million members with government representation, services such as 24 hour on the water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature packed boat insurance programs, money saving benefits that include marina and West Marine shopping discounts, and vital information that improves the boating, fishing and sailing lifestyle. Its member funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating.
9 Page 9 of 11 HydroHoist Scholarship HydroHoist Marine Group College Scholarship HydroHoist Marine Group announces a $1,000 college scholarship for employees and children of marina members in good standing with Marina Recreation Association (MRA). HydroHoist has been offering this same scholarship for over twenty years to members of other marine associations with great success and participation. "HydroHoist Marine Group takes great pride in offering scholarships for organizations like MRA. We view this as having long-term benefit to the people that support us and our industry," said Mick Webber, President and CEO. This scholarship in the amount of $1,000 ($ per semester) is good towards tuition and books. The application can be downloaded MRAScholarshipApplication2014.pdf or be requested by from Completed applications must be submitted by September 1, Additional details are outlined in the application. Trade Member Highlight Scribble Software Unveils New Cloud Platform Bringing Business and Consumer Together The Marina and Recreational Internet Applications Home, "MARIAH", Empowers Marinas and Their Customers to Interact More Productively A major issue frequently heard by marina owners an d operators is the difficulty in balancing resources for business requirements and customer needs. Answering this problem, Scribble Software Inc. would like you to meet "MARIAH" - Marina and Recreational Internet Applications Home. MARIAH is a revolutionary cloud platform that brings the marina business and its customers together in a connected network of Internet and mobile solutions. MARIAH is an extension of MarinaOffice, a leading marina management software solution used throughout the globe that empowers both the boat owner doing business with a marina and marina staff by providing a network of Internet and mobile apps. MARIAH also provides a unique multi-tiered user interface that allows marina staff to operate in a business mode and boat owners to operate in a consumer mode with capability to instantly switch to appropriate modes within subscribed marinas. This allows marina operators and boat owners from multiple marinas to easily connect and interact as needed. In conjunction with the core management features, the first apps to be included in MARIAH are "MyBoatStatus", "On-Line Bill Pay", and "MeterWalk". MyBoatStatus is a wireless online vessel monitoring solution allowing boat owners to connect to their boat from anywhere using any Internet enabled device and monitor vital boat health details. MyBoatStatus can also directly interface with the MarinaOffice marina management solution allowing the marina to monitor and be alerted of potential problems as well. On-Line Bill Pay assists a marina's accounting resources by providing a means for boat owners and marina customers to view and securely pay invoices originating from all departments of a marina.
10 Page 10 of 11 "MeterWalk" is a mobile phone and tablet app providing a modern and efficient means for marina staff to easily perform utility meter reads and dockwalk inventory checks with direct online connectivity. "We are truly pleased to be unveiling the MARIAH cloud platform", says Vance Young, Director of Technology at Scribble Software Inc. "MARIAH is the second phase of our solution modernization process in creating a platform where marinas and consumers can come together with a suite of productivity apps. Marina staff can better allocate their time with efficient management tools while boat owners can be empowered to interact and connect in a self-guiding manner." MARIAH is poised for a very dynamic future as additional apps are included. There are many additional apps for both the marina business and boat owner consumer already in development and these will be released in the very near future. For more information, contact Scribble Sofware: 8052 Elm Drive, Unit K Mechanicsville, VA fax New Members With Marina Recreation Association being the largest association of marina owners, operators and trade members throughout the Western States, Mexico, Hawaii, and Australia, our mission is to provide a united voice in representing the interests of the boating industry, and to help educate and inform in all areas of recreational boating. MRA would like to welcome the following companies to our association: Blue Water Yacht Harbor LLC Downtown Stockton Marina King Island Resort Tower Park Marina US Charter Ventures LLC Vestra Resources The Last Word To all of our MRA Members- I hope you have enjoyed the first E-newsletter of 2014! This issue has many great articles to share including a couple of new sections you will be seeing throughout the year. One of the new sections is the Trade Member Highlight section. I am reaching out to all of our trade members and asking you to send me a press release when you have a new product or service that you would like for us to highlight. There will be one each month and will be placed according to submission date. This is one more way for us to promote your support and dedication to the association. As the association continues to grow, we will be welcoming our new members who join in each issue. If you know any of the new members listed in this issue, please welcome them aboard! Many times the contact name for membership changes during the year and unless it is around renewal time, we may not be aware of the change. Please make sure to let us know if there are any changes in contact names, addresses, phone and
11 Page 11 of 11 fax numbers or addresses so we can have the most up-to-date information for you. Finally, we are always looking for articles that would interest our members. If you have an article that you would like to share, please contact me. Thank you, Mariann Timms Operations Administrator West Highway 12, #30, Lodi, CA Phone: Fax: Website: This newsletter is published by the Marina Recreation Association To be removed from distribution, please reply to this with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line