MBIA initiatives helping big, small, inland, Great Lakes marine businesses
MBIA represents more than 300 marine businesses in Michigan of all types and sizes – some with as many as 1000 employees and others with only a few. MBIA’s five person team works 24/7 to advance, promote and protect boating in Michigan. With the help of our full-time lobbying firm and experienced maritime attorney – both on retainer – we are working daily to grow our industry and serve our MBIA member needs.
The marine industry is an ecosystem - what affects anyone of us, affects us all.
That is why MBIA’s initiatives serve all marine businesses - whether they are big businesses or small “Mom and Pop” businesses – whether they are marinas, dealers, or service members. MBIA is committed to helping those on inland lakes, as well at the Great Lakes and all other land-locked marine businesses across the state.
Some recent MBIA initiatives are listed below.
1) Creating and moderating policies, legislation and regulations affecting our Member’s businesses
· Boat Registrations in the Dealerships – As the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office moves forward with its Branch Automation Modernization, MBIA will be working with CVR, Inc. (Computerized Vehicle Registration) and the SOS to create more convenient vessel registration process for our members selling boats.
· Alternative Fuel Sources and the impact on marine engines – 75% of boats in Michigan are trailerable and are fueled at local gas stations. E15 is now available at many gas stations and destroys marine engines. MBIA is working to assure miss-fueling won’t occur by asking for E15 to be repealed along with the current fuel standards that call for even higher ethanol blends down the road. MBIA is also fighting to assure there will always be E10 and lower available for boats. No such mandate currently exists.
· Emissions standards and how they affect tow vehicles – Similarly, emission standards are related to towing capacity. In order to meet the standards of the future, we lose towing capacity for cars and trucks used to tow boats thousands of boats to lakes all around Michigan. MBIA is helping to communicate how these changes will affect millions of outdoor recreation enthusiasts whether they are towing boats, or campers or trailers.
· Water Quality & Access – MBIA monitors environmental issues related to water quality and use - assuring both are protected. For example there have been talks that hundreds of miles of wind turbines on Lake Michigan may include pollution and exclusion zones which will keep boaters out. And PWCs were to be banned from Picture Rocks National Shoreline. MBIA is working to ensure proper regulations and policies are in place before wind turbines are allowed in any of Michigan’s waterways and to assure there are real studies showing boating or PWCs cause damage before they are excluded from any areas
· Invasive species which threaten our Great Lakes fisheries – MBIA is lobbying for full control and ecological separation of Asian Carp to stop this invasion into the Great Lakes and inland lakes.
· Boat Bottom Washing Regulations – MBIA is currently working with the MDEQ and the Michigan Clean Marina Program to monitor efforts to regulate marinas that perform boat bottom washing. If requirements are too expensive to comply with, this becomes a hardship for marinas and then marinas will no longer offer this service. Our industry will further suffer as invasive species and run-off will spread throughout the region as boats are taken to alternative offsite locations for bottom washing.
· Public/Private Anti-Competitive Agreements – MBIA is working to assure private marinas are not competing unfairly against public, state-owned marinas which operate tax free and have state funded dredging.
· Uniformity of states reporting of boating registration numbers – Currently Michigan is #3 for registered watercraft in the country with 935,000 on file. There are also an estimated 300,000 legally unregistered watercraft in Michigan, which under Michigan’s laws do not need to be registered. These are non-powered watercraft under 16 feet including canoes, kayaks, etc. Many states register smaller watercraft and if Michigan did too, we would again be #1 in watercraft registrations. What would this mean for Michigan? 1) More funding coming from Federal Funds which look at boat registration numbers, 2) More funding going to Michigan’s Waterways Fund which pays for marine safety, dredging and infrastructure. 3) Unprecedented PR value with the recognition Michigan deserves as #1 and best boating state in the country. MBIA is working to require all vessels be registered in Michigan and uniformity between states.
· Internet Sales Tax- Many Michigan marine businesses struggle to compete against Internet sales of electronics and other marine related gear and gadgets. MBIA is supporting efforts to level the playing field by requiring Internet sales tax be taxed at the same rate brick and mortar retailers, so our members won’t lose business to Internet retailers any longer.
· Dredging – MBIA is lobbying to assure the State of Michigan will dredge state-owned bottom lands that lead to private marinas. These waterways need to be maintained for marine businesses, no different than roads need to be maintained to local land based businesses.
2) Grow Boating Initiatives – growing boating participation, our industry and Member’s businesses
MBIA is dedicated to helping grow our industry (and your business) by getting more people to enjoy the boating lifestyle and become boat owners. How are we doing this?
1) Discover Boating messages in all PR opportunities which work to break down barriers to entry like affordability, access, ease of operation, quality time spent with friends and family
2) Outdoor Nation OWN IT Summit at Boating & Outdoor Festival – creating an event which encourages Millennial (people ages 18 – 24) to get outdoors and away from the screens of life.
3) Discover Boating Centers at all MBIA boat shows
4) Boat Demo Days during this year’s National Marina Day celebration (7 locations, first year effort)
5) Encouraging and helping members to download FREE Discover Boating Tools onto their websites
6) Year-long Public Relations and Social Media efforts to promote the boating lifestyle
3) Member Programs & Benefits designed to save Members time and money
· Money & Time Saving Programs for Members - UPS, Hanover Insurance, MTG/Veracity Credit Card Processing, Health Insurance, Aflac, Staples, Superfleet
· Discounted Services – discounted legal services, boat show space discounts, and discounted conference registration
· Industry Information, Quality Education, Research & Statistics
· Free advertising in Boat Michigan Annual Directory, five industry websites, and social media recognition
Your membership makes MBIA stronger, which makes your business stronger
Whether we are lobbying, implementing new cost saving programs for you, producing boat shows, or providing you with valuable advertising exposure to grow your business, know MBIA is here to unite our industry and keep it strong.