State/National/WorldNewsletter

Boating-Related Legislative Issues Highlighted at California Boating Congress

SACRAMENTO— Major regulatory and legislative challenges facing the marine industry in California, including the California Zero Emission Vehicle Program; 30×30 legislation; and copper paint regulations, were the focus of the fifth annual California Boating Congress. The conference was held virtually on March 17 and was sponsored by the Marine Recreation Association and 10 other marine industry associations and boating groups.

Planning for 2030 and beyond, speakers addressed the California Zero Emission Vehicle Program (ZEV), which is designed to promote options for eliminating carbon-fuel vehicles and vessels by 2035. Tyson Eckerle, deputy director of the ZEC, presented an overview of this state government initiative. He said encouraging private investment and technological advancement, as well as developing strategies and guidelines for “grand-fathering” older vessels, will be some of the major challenges in reaching the proscribed goals of the ZEV program.

“What we like to do always is get ahead of needing to regulate, so if there’s opportunities to push zero emissions technology with incentives into the market, we want to do that… so really, it’s an iterative, collaborative system we’re trying to set up where we can increase certainty, help drive investment into the sector,” said Eckerle.

Robert Newsome, senior vice president of operations at the National Marine Manufacturers Association, said the ZEV program could mean major changes for the industry for boat design, technology, and infrastructure needs.

“Quite a few things we need to think about as an industry as we look towards products and how people engage with those products and how they access the water into the future if a variety of things play out that we’re facing today,” said Newsome.

NMMA leaders also touched on the status of the marine industry and how current challenges and opportunities will shape the future of recreational boating in California and across the United States. Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the NMMA, reported there was a 13-year high volume of new boat sales in 2020 across all major segments of the industry with 30 percent of boat purchases coming from new boaters. He discussed regulatory and legislative challenges related to access, including federal and state 30×30 proposals, which are an effort to conserve at least 30 percent of land and ocean by 2030.

“Initiatives like 30×30, which are looking to protect 30 percent of the water, 30 percent of the land, that are being pushed by environmental groups, that could significantly reduce access to boaters and we’re working very hard to make sure those restrictions don’t happen,” said Hugelmeyer.

Another major regulation coming down the pipeline is related to copper paint on boats. Currently, Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) exist for Newport Beach, Marina del Rey and Shelter Island in San Diego to regulate the amount of copper leaching into the harbor from boat paint, hull cleaning and storm runoff. The State Water Board has prioritized reducing discharges of biocides from boats residing in saltwater marinas in the next five years. Shelley Anghera from Moffatt & Nichol Engineers said as part of those efforts, new enforceable actions will be required of marina owners and operators in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

“Regulators are looking at new and creative ways to compel individual boaters and the community around the boaters to reduce copper in the water,” said Anghera.

The water board in March released a Nonpoint Source (NPS) Implementation Plan for Los Angeles and Ventura for public review. As part of that, in the next three to four years, marina operators may be subject to new responsibilities to manage boaters under leaseholds to limit their copper discharge in the marina; trac/monitor paint on vessels and cleaning practices; modify lease agreements to limit cleaning or types of paint allowed on boats; active management/observance of tenants; and new record keeping. Anghera said this will likely result in extra compliance expenses for marina operators.

“Marine Recreation Association did provide a comment package for this document to continue to advocate that these alternative paints are still very difficult and it’s very difficult to get the boater community buying in on these alternative paints,” said Anghera.

For more information on these issues or to watch the full event, visit marina.org/events/5th-annual-california-boating-congress-2. The NMMA will take a broader look at legislative and regulatory issues facing the whole country at the American Boating Congress April 21 and 22. The Log will continue to follow these issues and others with impacts on recreational boating.

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