Charles Chapman Award

The Charles Chapman Award honors individuals or groups within the marine industry who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of boating for the benefit of the recreational boating industry and boating public.


Contact: Rachel Harmon


View past recipients of this prestigious award.

2023: John McKnight, NMMA

John Mcknight

John McKnight joined the National Marine Manufacturers Association as director of environmental health and safety in January 1994. In his 29 years with NMMA, John has been leading the industry negotiating regulations, managing technical projects and most of all educating the industry while assisting member compliance with new and existing government regulations. 
In his role as director of environmental health and safety, John oversaw numerous accomplishments, including managing and negotiating the first EPA and CARB OB/PWC engine emission regulations, obtained funding from the EPA Clean Water Group for “Walk the Dock to Profits,” significant project as it educated marina owners on the benefit of installing pump outs under the 1992 Clean Vessel Act. 
In 2007, McKnight was promoted to senior vice president government relations, where he led NMMA’s efforts on environmental and safety issues and managed the Washington, D.C. office. Later, in 2017 John transitioned to his current role, senior vice president of environmental health and safety. In these roles, he made numerous contributions to the environmental health and safety of the recreational boating industry.  From negotiating funding for multiple projects, including the industry’s first sustainable fuel test project, to leading the industry in managing the sterndrive and inboard emission regulations— McKnight’s lists of accomplishments are impressive.  
In addition to all of John’s successes, he has served as staff liaison for NMMA’s Engine Manufacturers Division Board of Directors, Boat Manufacturers Division Board of Directors and the Engine Manufacturers Technical Committee. McKnight is also the Chair of the ABYC Engine and Powertrain Committee and serves as the NMMA staff representative for several other industry committees.  
Prior to joining NMMA, John worked as a production supervisor, plant engineer and corporate environmental engineer and regional manager for sixteen chemical plants.  
McKnight, who grew up in northern New Jersey and graduated from Kean College with a degree in Industrial Engineering Technology. John lives in the D.C. area with his wife, Dawn, of 35 years. They have two grown children, Emily and Andrew. John enjoys spending time boating, gardening, cycling and playing the piano.