Archive for March, 2012


Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions filed by a receiver on behalf of Fountain and related entities have been dismissed by Judge Erik Kimball in the bankruptcy court of the Southern District of Florida.

The order was in response to a motion by Joseph Wortley to dismiss the cases. Wortley is at least a partial owner of Fountain and other related entities. A U.S. trustee had also filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case or, in the alternative, appoint a Chapter 11 trustee, but that motion was denied as moot due to this ruling.

At issue was whether the receiver, Ronald Glass, had the authority to file the bankruptcy petitions. The filing was made Jan. 18 and marked the second time in less than three years that Fountain had filed for bankruptcy protection. At the time of the January filing the company listed more than $53 million in liabilities and less than $50,000 in assets, according to court documents.

In his order, dated March 23, Kimball wrote, “… the court finds that Ronald Glass was not duly authorized to file the petitions commencing these cases.”

Glass told Trade Only Today that he had no comment on the judge’s order.

Entities involved in the dismissal include: American Marine Holdings LLC; Donzi Marine Inc.; AMH Government Services Inc.; Baja Marine Inc.; Fountain Dealers’ Factory Super Store Inc.; Fountain
Powerboat Industries Inc.; Fountain Powerboats Inc.; Fountain Powerboats LLC; Palmetto Park Financial LLC; and Pro-Line Boats LLC.

Following this order, an attorney for Fountain Powerboats Inc. and Baja Marine Inc. filed a motion in North Carolina to dissolve the temporary receivership.

A North Carolina Business Court judge appointed Glass a temporary receiver last October in First Capital’s case against Fountain Powerboats and other defendants. First Capital is seeking $61.04 million in damages from Fountain Powerboats and other entities for the “borrower defendants’ ” breach of loan agreements, according to documents filed in the North Carolina court.

Attorney Randolph James noted in his recent motion that Glass said in depositions that he filed the Chapter 11 petitions because “FCC informed Glass verbally that they (FCC) would not continue to fund the entities unless they were in Chapter 11. Ronald Glass further testified he knew at the time he filed bankruptcy petitions that all of the parties were waiting for Judge Gale to rule on a number of issues.

“When asked if Ronald Glass knew the filing of the petitions would prevent a written decision by Judge Gale, Ronald Glass stated, ‘I didn’t know that, but I’m not surprised by it.’,” James continued.

“Undersigned counsel has consistently maintained before this court that Ronald Glass has an inherent conflict of interest in acting as a receiver for the manufacturing, parts and service companies which occupy the building owned by the movant Fountain Powerboats Inc. and financed by an FCC mortgage,” he added. “Ronald Glass, while acknowledging his fiduciary duties, has failed to discharge those duties fairly, evenly and uniformly.”

The motion adds that Fountain Powerboats Inc. is prepared to immediately resume building Baja boats and employ 25 to 30 people in Washington, N.C., through its parts and service division as soon as the court discharges Glass as the temporary receiver for Fountain Powerboats and Baja Marine.

James also said FCC “intended to liquidate the defendants since the begining of this action” despite its statements in prior hearings that it intended to start production and take finished boats to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

“The intention to liquidate these companies was confirmed by Ronald Glass in his deposition testimony,” James said in his motion.

The entities asking for the dissolution of the receiver’s authority include: Fountain Powerboat Industries Inc.; Fountain Powerboats Inc.; Fountain Dealers’ Factory Super Store Inc.; and Baja Marine Inc.

No mention was made of Donzi or Pro-Line, and James did not immediately return a request for comment.

According to previous bankruptcy court filings, the ownership of Fountain, and its related entities, breaks down like this:

• Debtor American Marine Holdings LLC is the parent corporation, owning 100 percent of Donzi Marine LLC; AMH Government Services LLC; Pro-Line Boats LLC; and Fountain Powerboats LLC. AMH is owned by 50509 Marine LLC. The Wortley American Marine Trust is a 20 percent owner and 50509 Marine Corp. is an 80 percent owner of 50509 Marine LLC. In turn, The Wortley 50509 Marine Corp. Trust owns all of the interests of 50509 Marine Corp.

• Liberty Acquisitions FPB LLC, a non-debtor entity, is the parent company, owning 100 percent of the following debtor entities: Fountain Powerboat Industries Inc.; Fountain Powerboats Inc.; Fountain Dealers Factory Super Store Inc.; and Baja By Fountain Inc. Liberty Associates LC owns all of the interests of Liberty Acquisitions FPB LLC. Joseph Wortley owns 99 percent and Bill Gates owns 1 percent of Liberty Associates LC.

 • Wortley owns 100 percent of Palmetto Park Financial LLC.

– Beth Rosenberg



Hurricane Irene over the southern Bahamas on August 24. Credits: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Colorado State University (CSU) researchers announced this week that the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season will be a quieter one.

The season, which begins on June 1, is predicted to have less than the average six hurricanes seen.

“A warming tropical Pacific and a cooling tropical Atlantic are leading us to think that the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity” than average, meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray wrote in an online report.

“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and it appears that the chances of an El Niño event this summer and fall are relatively high,” they said.

The El Niño weather phenomenon is a periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean, suppressing hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

About six Atlantic hurricanes formed in the 2011 season, the worst being Irene, killing dozens of people and causing over $7 billion in damages.

The CSU researchers said they anticipate four possible scenarios for tropical cyclone activity, which were outlined by the team in December.

They wrote that there was a 5 percent chance of an unusually strong hurricane season, and no El Nino event, and a 25 percent chance of an above-average season with no El Nino.

They said the chances are higher, 45 percent, for an El Nino development, and a slightly lower hurricane season. Under this scenario, there could be anywhere between 4 to 6 hurricanes, 1 to 2 of which could be major hurricanes.

“However, we stress the need to realize that there is inherent uncertainty in seasonal TC prediction.” the authors wrote in the publishing. “In addition, hurricanes can make landfall in inactive seasons and do major damage.”

In December, the CSU team predicted a more active 2012 hurricane season, with a possibility of 7 to 9 hurricanes and 3 to 4 major hurricanes. Since this prediction, El Nino seems to be becoming a more likely scenario, lessening the activity of the hurricane season.

The average hurricane per season data is based on data from 1981 to 2010. The researchers also give a forecast parameter from 1950 to 2000 in their report.

Hurricane activity in the past 60 years has increased, according to the researcher’s December report. Their old climatology baseline from 1950 to 2000 had an average of 9.6 named storms per year, and 5.9 hurricanes.

Under the current climatology baseline, the CSU team said that there has been an average of 12 named storms in a hurricane season, as well as an average of 6.5 hurricanes.

Despite the increase in activity, major hurricanes under the old climatology baselines were slightly more often than those seen under the 1981 to 2010 baseline.

CSU said that an average of 2.3 major hurricanes a year took place between 1950 and 2000, compared to an average of 2.0 between 1981 and 2010.

The storm damages seen from the old climatology baseline is higher than the new baseline as well, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy of 96, compared to the new climatology at 92.

CSU researchers also said El Niño has historically had less active hurricane years. They said years with El Niño have seen an average of 4.5 hurricanes and 9.5 named storms, compared to 7 hurricanes and 12 named storms for those years which have not had El Niño.

The researchers said that a detailed forecast for the 2012 hurricane season will be available on April 4. They said this discussion will include predictions for numbers of named storms, hurricanes, major hurricanes, and more.


Can You Hear Me Now?


Sea Tow Services International announces that the number of stations transmitting its free Automated Radio Check service in coastal and inland boating areas across the U.S. has broken 100. Today, there are 107 Automated Radio Check stations, and several more are pending authorization. Sea Tow continues to seek new host stations in its ongoing mission to expand this vital boating safety service.

Automated Radio Check, which is provided by Sea Tow in association with MariTEL, lets boaters quickly and easily check that their vessel’s VHF radio is working. They simply tune the radio to the local Automated Radio Check channel, key the mike, and ask for a radio check. They hear an automated response and their request is played back to them, allowing them to confirm the radio is operational and to assess transmission strength, a crucial safety check. Sea Tow Automated Radio Check also aids the U.S. Coast Guard by reducing non-emergency communications on VHF Channel 16.

The first and only service of its kind in the U.S., Sea Tow Automated Radio Check repurposes existing technology in an innovative way by utilizing marine operator channels that are no longer needed for voice transmissions. Automated Radio Check service is provided over VHF Channels 24 to 28. To find the right channel in a particular boating area, all a boater has to do is visit and enter the city, state or zip code. An interactive map will open, showing them the Automated Radio Check stations in that region.

The newest Sea Tow Automated Radio Check stations include: Gulf Shores, AL; Branford, CT; Fort Pierce, FL; Islamorada, FL; North Miami, FL; Steinhatchee, FL; Savannah, GA; South Biscayne Bay, FL; Summerland Key, FL; Eliot, ME; Rainy River Marina, Baudette, MN; Ocean Springs, MS; Camden Point, NC; Woodland Resort at Creel Bay, ND; Scuba Steve’s, Lake McConaughy, NE; North Platte, NE; Montauk, NY; Stony Brook, NY; Hilton Head, SC, and North Padre Island, TX.

One of the most visible of these stations is the 300-foot radio tower that Sea Tow Miami recently installed on the roof of the 25-story Grand View Palace condominium in Miami’s North Bay Village. “It is up and running, and has greatly expanded Automated Radio Check coverage in the Miami area,” said Sea Tow Automated Radio Check Program Coordinator, Jim Foley, adding, “Each of our new stations is the result of demand by the public for the Automated Radio Check service to be available wherever they take their boats.”

In order to fulfill that demand, Sea Tow actively is looking for volunteers to host new Automated Radio Check stations in areas that currently are not covered by the service. Any business can apply; all that’s needed is a place to mount an antenna. Automated Radio Check transmitting stations require only a controller box programmed with proprietary software developed by Sea Tow and MariTEL, a VHF radio, and a 30-foot antenna.

“An Automated Radio Check station could be a boat dealership, a boatyard, a bait and tackle shop or even a waterfront hotel or restaurant,” Foley said. “Our ‘wish list’ for additional Automated Radio Check locations includes the Great Lakes region, San Francisco Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest.” For more details, potential Sea Tow Automated Radio Check hosts are invited to e-mail

The United States Power Squadrons are teaming up with Sea Tow to help promote this boating safety service by giving out Automated Radio Check decals to attendees of their exciting, educational and fun boating courses, seminars and events held across the country. In addition, anyone who gets a USPS Vessel Safety Check will receive a decal. To find a USPS course or event near you, visit



The Coast Guard and the American Boat and Yacht Council released a draft report, “Human Factors Analysis of Propeller Strikes,” prepared by CED Investigative Technologies Inc.

The report concludes that no universal solution exists to mitigate the risk of injury from accidental contact with boat propellers — an issue that the Coast Guard has studied since as early as 1988.

“While no universal solutions exist for this problem, propeller guards have been shown to offer limited protection under certain conditions with particular hull types and engine combinations and are one method of mitigating this risk of injury,” the report states.

“Other mitigation methods should be studied to extend the opportunity of mitigating injury from propeller strikes,” according to the report. “These methods can include training, the use of alert technology, and even modifications to boat layout, such as the location of boarding ladders.”

The report is open for comment until April 11.

People injured by boat propellers have brought lawsuits against several boatbuilders in recent years.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has formed a task force to review the report and provide comment. NMMA members who would like to participate or would like additional information are asked to contact Cindy Squires at or (202) 737-9766.


Peters & May Has a Date for Rouen

Posted: March 22, 2012 in News
Joins International All-Women’s Team


An international all-women’s race team has come together to take on an historic — some say the most grueling — event in boating: the 24 Heure Motonautiques de Rouen. And helping this global team of champions conquer the River Seine is global boat transport champion Peters & May.

In its 48th year, the 24 Hours of Rouen has had other all-female teams competing, but this year, for the first time it is an international team, including the first North American woman to enter the fray; Canadian Tammy Wolf, who was hand-picked by team manager Albert Hericher along with her teammates Bimba Sjoholm of Sweden, Norway’s Mette Bjerknaes and Marie-Line Henricher of France.

Hundreds of racers come to France each spring from around the world to compete in three classes of “tunnel boat” or ‘Formula” racing, with the speeds and G-forces similar to any other race. However, at Rouen, pilots turn the boat to the right and they do it in the dark.

The ladies will be racing a Moore hull pushed by a Mercury Racing OptiMax in Formula 2 (SST 120). The low-emissions engine was recently recognized with a UIM Environmental Award from the Union Internationale Motonautique, which sanctions the race.”We like the idea of multinational teams,” says Peters & May CEO David Holley. “Here, we have a global team, all women and the first North American woman to compete at Rouen; it’s exciting to be a part of something historic.”

Originally, the race was run for 24 continuous hours but following a deadly accident in 2010, a compromise extended the event over three days, still allowing for the nighttime format in which driver changes occur every two hours, still challenging the endurance of boat, engine and team.

 Meet the Team

Marie-Line Henricher (France) is a Rouen veteran, having  raced all three classes over 15 years. She was part of the 1997 all-French women’s Rouen team and in 1999 she married her team manager, Albert, at the “24 Hours.” With over 50 career podium finishes, she describes Rouen as, “The hardest, most demanding and magical race–unlike any other event on this earth.”



Mette Bjerknaes (Norway) has packed a lot of racing into a short career; advancing from V-25 in 2008 to Formula 4 and on to a third-place Formula 2 Norwegian Championship finish in 2011. Mette gets valuable coaching from her father, Morten, a former F1 pilot who competed in the “Paris 6 Hours” race in the 1980s and her race manager Pierre Lundin, Rouen winner in 2009. As the only female F2 pilot on her race circuit, she is, “excited to be competing in Rouen with three other speed-loving ladies. It is especially wonderful that we represent four different countries–boat racing girls are found worldwide!” (Mette’s Facebook Page)



Tammy Wolf (Canada) has been immersed in racing her entire life–her father working for Mercury Canada and her brother racing tunnel boats. As soon as she was able (1994), she took to the cockpit herself; working her way through Formula V, SST 90 and Formula 3 where she won divisional and regional championships as part of Tunnel Vision Racing with her husband Mark Jakob. “I’ve always wanted to go [to Rouen] just to watch,” she says, “I never expected to be given this incredible opportunity. To attend Rouen is an honor. To compete there is a dream.” The attention women racers receive has good points and bad points like anything else, “When we’re promoting a cause, like breast cancer awareness we often get more attention than the men, but the same is true if we make a mistake; every camera is on us.”  (Tammy’s Facebook page).
Bimba Sjoholm (Sweden) comes from another racing family as she grew up watching her father and brother race. A 2011 European Champion, she has acquired a number of podium finishes since she began racing in 1995. Racing at Rouen will fulfill “One of my biggest goals in racing,” she says, “I have heard so much about this prestigious race since I was little and I feel incredibly honored to participate in the first international women’s team. Hopefully, we are regarded as role models for others. In powerboat racing the men and women compete on equal terms.” Her training as a glassblower has striking similarities to racing: “it’s all about timing, deciding when something should be done and then acting.” (Bimba’s Facebook page).

While the entire team has yet to meet face-to-face, they communicate through Facebook, and can be followed there as well as on their website,, and at the Peters & May Racing Facebook page.



RELEASED:  March 19th, 2012

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard announced today a change to the marine radio frequency that mariners must use to activate fog signals on navigable waterways of the Great Lakes.

Until the change takes effect on July 1, mariners are advised to use both the new and the old frequency.

Since the 1990s, mariners encountering decreased visibility have been able to activate fog signals on certain aids-to-navigation by tuning their marine radios to VHF-FM channel 79A (156.975 MHz) and keying their microphone five times. Doing so activates the fog signals, allowing mariners to locate and identify the aids when they are hard to see, which results in safer transit. The channel used for this purpose is being changed to channel 83A (157.175 MHz).

Mariners who wish to activate fog signals should key their microphones on both channels until July 1, when they should only do so on channel 83A. This change is being made to shift radio traffic from channel 79A, a commercial channel, to channel 83A, a frequency owned and operated by the Coast Guard.





(12/P28) TRENTON– After considering numerous public comments, the Department of Environmental Protection today formally proposed amended common sense rules to improve and enhance public access to New Jersey’s beaches, bays and waterways, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

In particular, the DEP has proposed changes that provide greater public access for fishermen across the state, enhanced opportunities for the public to participate in the crafting of municipal public access plans, and clarified the protection and continuity of the Hudson River walkway, while also clarifying rules regarding marinas.

“Providing ample access to our ocean beaches, bays and rivers is a fundamental right for all residents of New Jersey, and the driving force behind these rules,” said Commissioner Martin. “We heard the suggestions and concerns expressed by many of our residents during a very robust public comment period over the past year and have responded by making changes to the proposed rules, especially recognizing the needs of the fishing community in New Jersey.

The amendments, published today in the State Register, include the following:

  • Provide enhanced public access for recreational fishermen by ensuring that municipal public access plans include defined and guaranteed points of access for day and night fishing.
  • Provide greater transparency and public involvement in development of municipal public access plans by ensuring that proposed access plans are posted on the DEP website and that the public has an opportunity to comment on them.
  • Do not require marinas to expand access when improving existing facilities, but development on adjacent sites would require marina owners to provide public access plans
  • Mandate public access to and along the main route of the Hudson Waterfront Walkway and adjacent piers on a 24-hour basis except in very limited circumstances, and requires conformance to existing Hudson Walkway design guidelines and standards.

Public hearings on the amended rules are scheduled on April 18 in Avalon and Long Branch.
To read the proposed rules amendments visit:

Commissioner Martin noted the DEP will work closely with towns and cities to craft access plans that make local sense and protect the rights and needs of residents and businesses, instead of imposing one-size-fits-all, state-dictated access rules. He stressed that all public access plans developed by municipalities require approval of the DEP, which has final authority over them.

The DEP will assist local governments in developing Municipal Public Access Plans, dedicating state Green Acres Program funds and other state resources to implement local plans, and effectively communicating the wealth of public access already available in New Jersey.

The proposed access rules recognize the Jersey Shore and waterfronts are diverse, dynamic areas that provide a wide range of public access opportunities, from beach access to swimming areas, from places to congregate to places for solitude, and from places to surf, launch a boat, kayak or fish. They also recognize that legitimate recreational opportunities also include the ability to have restaurants and other public establishments along the waterfronts, in appropriate locations.

The DEP also understands the need for meaningful public access to tidal waters in urban areas.

The environmental health and public accessibility of the ocean, shore and tidal waterways also are inextricably tied to New Jersey’s economic health. Tourism, much of which is tied to Shore communities, is a $38 billion per year industry in New Jersey.

The Department in 2010 undertook its review of the public access rules, in part, because the courts struck down provisions of existing rules, the Legislature put a moratorium on implementation of provisions requiring marina access, and the DEP recognized that a more common sense approach to the rules could enhance access.

To assist the public, the DEP has launched a Web site that has a wealth of information about public access points, including public restroom and parking facilities, amenities such as restaurants, boat and kayak launches marinas, water quality, handicapped facilities, and places to fish. This guide will enable people to choose the ideal location for them to enjoy New Jersey’s coastal and other tidal waters.

Public hearings concerning the amended rules are scheduled on April 18, 11 a.m. in Avalon, at the Avalon Municipal Court Meeting Room, 3100 Dune Drive, Avalon, N.J. 08202; and April 18, 5 p.m. in Long Branch, at the Long Branch Municipal Council Chambers, 344 Broadway, 2nd floor, Long Branch, N.J. 07740. For more information on the hearings visit:

Written comments may be submitted through May 18, electronically at or in hard copy to N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, Gary Brower, Esq., Attn: DEP Docket No. 05-11-03, Office of Legal Affairs, Mail Code 401-04L, P.O. Box 402, 401 East State Street, Floor 4, Trenton, NJ 08625-0402.



A day after a boater died at the Spring Thunder Regatta on Lake Dora in Tavares, two other boaters were killed when their boats collided.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the two dead men as Charles Woodruff, 64, of Jensen Beach, and Dea Wiseley, 73, of Sun City Center, near Tampa.

Hill said Woodruff’s boat, named Buckeye Kid, ran over the top of Wiseley’s boat, called Shock-Wave, this afternoon.

“At that point, both of these men were ejected,” Hill said.

Hill said that authorities don’t know all the details of the incident at this time. The crash could be attributed to wave action, operator error or equipment failure, she said.

“There are numerous reasons why these things happen,” Hill said. “That’s why we aim to find out.”

According to Joyce Ross, a Tavares city spokeswoman, the crash happened about 2:15 p.m.

“This is really tragic. Our sympathies go out to the families, of course,” Ross said. “The city’s devastated, just devastated.”

Today’s fatal crash was the second at the event. On Saturday, Mark Van Winkle, 53, of Stuart, was ejected from a Jersey Skiff during a demonstration lap, then struck by another boat and died, Hill said. The event was suspended for the day.

Today’s accident occurred in the general vicinity of Saturdays’ accident, around orange buoys in the lake not far from shore.

fter today’s fatalities, the boating event was canceled.

Earlier in the day, Mike Yobe, vice president of the Classic Race Boat Association, confirmed to the Sentinel that an accident happened today, but he did not offer details.

Tavares spokeswoman Ross said the fatalities are unprecedented.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever had anything like this happen on the lake as I understand it,” she said.



A Martin County man was killed Saturday after being struck by a boat during an annual classic boat event in Lake County, officials said.

Mark Van Winkle, 53, of Stuart and Lorraine Moody of Lake Placid were ejected from their speeding Jersey Skiff during a heat in the Classic Race Boat Regatta on Lake Dora in Tavares, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Joy Hill said.

A rescue boat plucked Moody out of the water, but Van Winkle was struck by another boat and killed, Hill said. Race rules require boat operators to wear helmets and stop when someone is seen in the water.

The accident happened at about noon during the sixth annual event, which typically attracts 8,000 to 10,000 spectators, vendors and participants to kick off the beginning of boating season, said Joyce Ross, a Tavares city spokeswoman.

Mike Yobe, vice president of the Classic Race Boat Association, said the event is not a competition but a showcase for vintage racing boats. None of the vessels can legally race, he said.

Van Winkle’s boat had just completed the first demonstration lap alongside seven other boats when something caused both occupants to be thrown into the water, officials said.

Yobe said the boats travel between 70 and 80 miles an hour.

“We’ve never had an incident like this before,” Yobe said. “We are just old men with old boats.”

Hill said investigators are still trying to determine how the man was fatally struck. It was unclear Saturday who was operating the boat that hit Van Winkle.

Ross said the event was suspended after the accident. It will resume Sunday.


The 2012 Boating Season is almost here! Stop in and see our wide selection of New & Pre-Owned Boats available now!

If you’re looking for high quality and personal service, you’ve come to the right place. At NEWBURG MARINE we’ll give you the attention and personal service you’ll come to expect and enjoy.  Our knowledgeable sales staff is here to offer any assistance as well as the most competitive pricing available on our new & pre-owned boats.




The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will propose amendments to House Bill 1307 to substantially reduce the proposed cost of registering a boat in Maryland, the department announced.

The department introduced the legislation to address the state’s boating infrastructure needs. The original proposal would have replaced the flat $24 boat registration fee paid every two years with fees ranging from $50 to $700, depending on the size of the boat.

Under the proposed changes, it would cost $25 every two years to register boats under 16 feet in Maryland. It would cost $50 every two years to register boats of 16 to less than 21 feet; $75 every two years to register boats of 21 to less than 32 feet; $100 every two years to register boats of 32 to less than 45 feet; $200 every two years to register boats of 45 to 65 feet; and $300 every two years to register boats of more than 65 feet.

The bill also includes a voluntary non-motorized decal for boats such as kayaks and canoes for $12 every two years. The proposal eliminates the second tier of phased-in registration increases, which means the new costs would start in 2013.

In addition, amendments would increase the one-time boat title price to $35, as well as some other costs to boat dealers.

“We appreciate the department taking into consideration the concerns of the Maryland boating industry by significantly reducing the proposed boat registration costs to a level that is acceptable to our boat dealers and marinas,” Marine Trades Association of Maryland executive director Susan Zellers said in a statement.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources substantially reduced the amount of the proposed cost structure after public outcry against the original proposal.

“We hope these proposed fee reductions strike a better balance among the competing factors of affordability to boaters, recession impacts on boat sales and the growing unmet needs to maintain our boating assets,” department secretary John Griffin said in a statement. “With some of the most magnificent waterways in the country, we must work together to keep boating safe and enjoyable.”

The cost of registering a boat in Maryland has not increased since 1983.

Since 1965, the state’s 5 percent excise tax on vessels has served as the major source of funding for the Waterway Improvement Fund, the state’s program for financing projects and activities that promote, develop and maintain Maryland’s waterways for the boating public.

The Department of Natural Resources needs $41 million annually to maintain boating services and operations. This includes dredging and maintaining 265 channels, more than 400 public boating facilities, 3,600 buoys and marine police operations. The department is also responsible for removing hazardous abandoned boats and debris, funding marine sewage pumpout stations, local fire and rescue boats and providing icebreaking services for boaters when necessary.

Fund revenue has declined by 50 percent, to $15 million because of a decrease in boat sales, leaving Maryland unable to pay for these projects. The department said it was only able to fund 11 percent of the state and local grant requests for FY 2012.



The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas announced today that the MRAA Rewards Insurance Program, available through Norman-­‐Spencer Marine Insurance Services and only to MRAA members, was rolled out nationwide on March 1.

The MRAA Rewards coverage, which is part of Norman-­‐Spencer’s AquaPac program, offers consumers broad, affordable insurance coverage that accommodates the full spectrum of boats, from pesonal watercraft to large sail and power yachts. Each AquaPac policy is written to meet the individual boater’s needs and exceeds programs available from most standard and specialty marine insurance providers.

“We’ve been working with Norman-­‐Spencer and the AquaPac team to design and implement this product, and we’re excited to see it coming to market nationwide,” says Matt Gruhn, President of MRAA. “Not only will this program create greater opportunities for consumers who cover their boats with the AquaPac product, but it also offers MRAA members a fabulous opportunity to expand their offerings and drive additional business to their dealerships.”

As the endorsed consumer insurance product of the MRAA, AquaPac offers consumers preferred repair deductibles — reduced by half when repairs are made at a current MRAA member facility. The program’s total loss replacement protection gives the MRAA member the first opportunity to provide the replacement; there is no depreciation on most parts up to 10 years old, which makes the estimates and claims process seamless; and repairs made by an MRAA member shop are guaranteed, with no deductible, for as long as the customer owns the boat and carries the AquaPac policy.

“We’re building on the tremendous success AquaPac has had over the last 30 years in the West coast market,” says Paul Sexton, National Boat/Yacht Director for Norman-­‐Spencer’s Marine Insurance Services division. “This innovative program, paired with very high service standards has always been highly regarded by boaters, dealers, marine industry groups and the general insurance industry. We’re excited to roll this out coast-­‐to-­‐coast and to also provide vast product, policy and pricing upgrades in the process.”

To find out more about the AquaPac program, please visit or contact Mike Garner at Norman-­‐Spencer at 800-­‐252-­‐9597, exts. 1345.

About Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas is the only North American association dedicated to furthering the interests of boat and engine dealers and other marine-­‐ related retailers throughout North America. Under the umbrella of MRAA Rewards, the MRAA offers a host of cost-­‐saving, revenue-­‐generating, business-­‐improvement, and professional-­‐development benefits exclusively for its members. For more information, visit



Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would impose a 1 percent “luxury surcharge” on certain items, including boats costing more than $35,000.

The bill also would tax cars, motorcycles and planes costing more than that amount.

The tax on motor vehicles, boats, and airplanes sold for a taxable price of more than $90,000 would be $550, plus 2 percent of the amount above $90,000.

The bill, which would impose a luxury tax on most retail sales of items valued above $5,000, was introduced last month in the House of Delegates. It was referred to the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.

If passed, the bill will take effect July 1.

According to a petition against the proposal on, the bill would “effectively force boaters and would-be buyers of boats to seek another venue in which to enjoy, keep and purchase their boats to avoid these surcharges.

“Nearby Virginia and Delaware will benefit, while Maryland yacht brokers, dealers, boatyards, marinas and peripheral marine businesses will be negatively impacted or forced out of business,” the petition states.



LAKE FOREST, Ill., March 2, 2012 – Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC) today announced several actions designed to more clearly align and delineate its global marine operations to better exploit market opportunities, sharpen market focus and enhance growth as the world’s marine market continues to evolve.

“For many years, several Brunswick boat brands based in Europe and Asia have been under the Mercury Marine umbrella, a structure that naturally developed over time as Mercury made investments in these ventures,” explained Dustan E. McCoy, Brunswick’s chairman and chief executive officer.  “Going forward, these brands, which include Arvor, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Uttern and Valiant boats, will be managed as part of the Brunswick Boat Group.  This alignment will allow for a comprehensive strategic approach to boat market opportunities around the globe, and enable us to better share and concentrate our worldwide resources to develop new boats, products and features, and augment our dealer network.  This realignment will also allow Mercury, under the leadership of its president, Mark Schwabero, to focus its full time and attention on implementing its significant growth plans in marine engine and related markets.”

Andrew E. Graves, president of the Brunswick Boat Group, will now direct and coordinate the global efforts of all Brunswick boat brands. Joining Graves’ management team as president of Hatteras and Cabo Yachts will be David O’Connell.  He will succeed James E. Meyers, who has overseen the consolidation of those two brands.

“We approach the next phase of Hatteras and Cabo development with enthusiasm as Dave’s experience and skills will accelerate efforts to design and manufacture exceptional products, develop new markets, strengthen existing ones, and identify continuing improvements to support our dealers and customers,” McCoy said.

“Dave brings more than 20 years of extensive yacht experience to these brands, and will be instrumental in driving the successful execution of the business improvement plans now underway in New Bern,” Graves said.  “Dave has successfully led the Merritt Island product development and engineering team, supporting Sea Ray, Meridian and Bayliner brands during the past five years.  Prior to his role at product development and engineering, Dave spent seven years leading Sea Ray’s sport yacht/yacht sales and marketing teams.”

About Brunswick
Headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., Brunswick Corporation endeavors to instill “Genuine Ingenuity”(TM) in all its leading consumer brands, including Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrives and inboard engines; MotorGuide trolling motors; Attwood marine parts and accessories; Land ‘N’ Sea, Kellogg Marine, and Diversified Marine parts and accessories distributors; Arvor, Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Cabo Yachts, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris FloteBote, Hatteras, Lowe, Lowe Pontoons, Lund, Meridian, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Triton Aluminum, Trophy, Uttern and Valiant boats; Life Fitness and Hammer Strength fitness equipment; Brunswick bowling centers, equipment and consumer products; Brunswick billiards tables and foosball tables.  For more information, visit


FCC extends comment period on GPS decision


BoatUS recently cautioned that America’s boaters weren’t out of the woods yet with the possibility of the country’s sole electronic navigation system failing as the result of radio signal interference issues from a newly proposed cellular broadband network.

The association said the Federal Communications Commission extended the public comment period to the network’s proposed builder, LightSquared, allowing comments through March 16.

BoatUS continues to urge boaters and all users of GPS to submit comments to the FCC to ensure that the nation’s system of global positioning devices keeps Americans safely on course.

“At every turn LightSquared has proven its resiliency to delay the inevitable,” BoatUS president Margaret Podlich said in a statement. “This latest move is no surprise and we hope the additional two weeks gives GPS users the chance to have their voice heard.”

Here is how to file comments to the FCC through its online comment form:

  • Click on this link for the FCC’s Electronic Comments Filing System.
  • Select “Proceeding Number 11-109.”
  • Enter contact information.
  • In the box that says “Type in or paste your brief comments,” here are some points to select from:
  • Explain how you use GPS in your life — on the water, on land or in the air.
  • What would happen to your business/personal life if GPS became unavailable or unreliable?
  • Wireless broadband service is important, but it should not come at the expense of GPS.
  • All of the studies show that LightSquared’s proposed network would cause interference and that there are no remedies.
  • Tell the FCC that you rely on it to protect the integrity of the GPS signal and that you support its recommendation to stop LightSquared’s current proposal.
  • Click “Continue.”
  • If the review page is correct, click “Confirm.”