Together, making boating the preferred choice in recreation


NMMA’s Government Relations State division monitors legislation and regulatory issues in all 50 states, pursuing proactive goals and defending the marine industry against potentially harmful government initiatives.

  • State governments frequently introduce and enact laws within months, a marked difference from federal regulatory and congressional actions that can play out over several years.
  • The NMMA GR State division employs contract lobbyists in the largest boating states to provide a strong local presence and early warning system. NMMA members receive regular legislative updates and alerts via The Washington Wave e-newsletter and issue-specific emails.
  • Marine businesses are often asked for grassroots action to oppose or support an issue, and that action often is needed within a matter of days.

This page provides frequent updates on legislation and regulatory actions that directly involve the recreational marine industry. Click on state name to learn about its key issues. 

Current Legislative and Regulatory Issues:

Massachusetts "David Hanson Boater Safety Act": A bill that would require all boaters born after January 1, 1988 to obtain a boating certificate by January 1, 2014 was considered in a hearing of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. In written testimony, NMMA recommended the effective date be move forward one year to January 2015, to give the commonwealth enough time to advertise the requirement, and time for boaters to take the course.  The bill also requires all PWC operators to pass a boating safety course, with the mandate being phased in over five years. PWIA recommended that the Committee adopt the USCG definition of PWC and require all PWC operators to be at least 16 years old.

Michigan Sales Tax on the Difference Signed into Law: Michigan was the only Great Lakes state without a sales tax on-the-difference law, and after a lengthy hold up in the Michigan Legislature, legislation passed and was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. The new law will phase out the application of sales tax on the value of trade-ins when purchasing a boat, motor vehicle or recreational vehicle.  The enacted law states that, beginning December 15, 2013, the state will gradually end the sales tax on the agreed-upon value of a boat, motor vehicle or recreational vehicle used as part of the purchase of a new one. Initially, the legislation contemplated a 10-year phase-out. However, after much deliberation, the legislature agreed to a 24-year phase-out for motor and recreational vehicles. Fortunately, boat buyers will immediately see the full value of the trade-in exempt from the sales tax instead of a gradual phase-out. NMMA and the Michigan Marine Trade Association aggressively advocated for this common-sense legislation, ending the practice of "double taxation" and provide a much needed tax break for boat buyers. 

New York Comprehensive Boating Safety Package Signed into Law: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (A.3471-A/S.1639-A) to improve safety for boaters in New York's waterways by requiring safety classes for all boat operators. This law which takes effect May 1, 2014 mandates that all operators of vessels in New York (who still must be at least 10 years of age) must have a boating safety certificate issued by the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the US Power Squadrons or the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.  The requirement is phased in by requiring that all New York operators of a vessel who are born on or after May 1, 1996 (they will be 18 years old or younger when the bill goes into effect) are subject to the requirement.  This “phase-in” effectively exempts vessel operators born before May 1, 1996 from the boating safety course requirement.

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AlabamaIllinoisMontanaRhode Island
AlaskaIndianaNebraskaSouth Carolina
ArizonaIowaNevadaSouth Dakota
ArkansasKansasNew HampshireTennessee
CaliforniaKentuckyNew JerseyTexas
ColoradoLouisianaNew MexicoUtah
ConnecticutMaineNew YorkVermont
DelawareMarylandNorth CarolinaVirginia
District of ColumbiaMassachusettsNorth DakotaWashington
FloridaMichiganOhioWest Virginia



For more information please contact:

David Dickerson
Director, State Government Relations



Manager, State Government Relations
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