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Newspaper Archive of
The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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March 4, 2016     The Catalina Islander
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March 4, 2016
 

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BoatUS Celebrates 50th Anniversary Boat owners’ group offers towing coverage for clients STAFF REPORT In 1966, boaters could buy a new mid-sized cruiser for about $7,000, outboard engines had just surpassed 100 horsepower, and recreational boating was growing on a large scale across America. It was also in ’66 that the nation’s largest recreational boating group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), got its start thanks to Founder Richard Schwartz who saw a need to make recreational boaters’ lives better. His vision of offering represen- tation, improving safety, provid— ing quality services at competitive prices and saving boaters money was all rolled up into the “service, saVings and representation” motto that remains at the core of the more than half million member organization today. “BoatUS has always been there for boaters and always will be,” said BoatUS President Margaret Podlich. “Whether it’s helping boaters have a safe day on the water, ensuring that boating taxes go to boating programs, offering competitive boat insurance cover— age, or having the largest on water towing fleet in the nation, BoatUS is proudly the single source of exceptional service and savings. We’re steadfast in our commit- ment to protect boaters and their rights, making boating safer, more~ The Catalina lslander has been serving Catalina island and our mainland friends since 1914-when technology looked a lot different than today. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to Catalina and to making it easy. for you stay connected With everything that’s important to you, your family and business. affordable and accessible.” BoatUS will be celebrating its golden anniversary in 2016 with a series of special member events and coverage in its flagship pub~ lication, BoatUS Magazine, and other programs. A look back at five decades of BoatUS’ significant impacts and innovation include: - BoatUS is the first organiza- tion to fight for legislation on behalf of boaters, shaping national, boat- ing policy when Schwartz helps draft the watershed Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971 creating the US Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety. He also secured passage of the Recreational Boating Safety and Facilities Improvement Act of 1979 — also known as the Biaggi Bill — which affirmed that taxes and fees paid by boaters should support boating programs. ~The BoatUS Marine Insurance program starts in 1967 offering the first recreational boat policy in clear, understandable language rather than the unintelligible, cen- turies-old language from Lloyd’s of London. BoatUS creates the only Consumer Protection Bureau (1970) for boaters to seek redress with I manufacturers, suppli— ers or businesses as well as a Dispute Mediation Program. BoatUS Reports, the association’s early member newsletter, even— tually grows to become BoatUS Magazine, the largest boating magazine in the country with over half a million circulation. After two years of BoatUS lobbying efforts, in 1980 President Jimmy Carter signs the Recreational Boating Safety and Facilities Improvement Act, autho- rizing $60 million in boating fuel taxes to be spent on boating safety programs and boating facilities improvements over the next three years. - In 1982 BoatUS leads the suc- cessful fight to repeal the Federal Boat “User Fee” Tax, saving boat— ers up to $600 annually. ' As a result of the US. Coast Guard no longer offering non- emergency assistance to boaters where towboat companies exist- ed, the BoatUS Insurance policy becomes the first in the nation to feature on water towing coverage to its clients. 0 Also in 1983, the first BoatUS Catastrophe Team is established to assist the Houston Yacht Club following the disastrous landfall of Hurricane Alicia. Comprised of expert marine surveyors, claims adjusters and heavy equipment operators, in subsequent years the team becomes the “gold standard” for service to insured boaters after storm—related disasters. As a result, BoatUS becomes the nation’s expert at hurricane damage avoid- ance for boats and marinas. -BoatUS was an early pioneer in discount marine retailing, start— ing with a single product — a float- ing flashlight — eventually opening a nationwide chain of 62 BoatUS retail stores and catalog. The retail division was sold to West Marine in 2003. 0 In 1994 TowBoatUS creates a 24-hour toll-free dispatch hotline to respond to members’ needs. The dispatch system pioneers the Avalon to change . color to help track local recycling use STAFF REPORT The Avalon residential recy- cling bags are switching color. Orange will be the new blue. In an effort to track cor— rect usage of the residential recycling bags available at City Hall to all residents of Avalon; the color of the bag is chang— ing from the traditional blue use of technology to find the clos— est towboat while connecting the boater directly with the towing captain. - In 2006, the EPA starts wres- tling with a proposed operational permit that could be required for each boat in each state. BoatUS launches a massive two-year lobby— ing effort to pass the Clean Boating Act, exempting recreational boats from permits intended to address ocean-going ships and offshore sources of invasive species. - In 2008 BoatUS holds the first ever, two-day Marina Hurricane Preparation Symposium designed to reduce damage and the loss of boats and marinas in storms. -In 2011, BoatUS hand delivers over 15,000 comments from con- cerned boaters, sailors and anglers to the Federal Communications Commission demanding that the agency not go forward in its plans “lflu‘. ' g nm Cll'l‘llLlIlll + ISLHHDGR Recycling bags change color to a clear orange hue. There has been some abuse of the current blue bags which show up as regular residential and commercial trash bags, storage bags, laundry bags, etc. Blue recycling bags can be purchased at mainland big box stores, hafdware stores and some grocery outlets making it difficult to spot the abuse of the free City of Avalon bags. Identification will be easy when the bags switch to their new color. As a footnote; the orange alternative color is popular in England! to allow a private company to put the reliability of the Global Positioning System system at risk. The plans fail to win government support. In 2012, BoatUS mobilizes its largest-ever Catastrophe Team salvaging thousands of boats from the NY—NJ region as far north as Maine and inland to Michigan. 9 In 2015, BoatUS offers the first insurance policy for boats rented through peer-to-peer rental programs. Fighting for anchoring rights in Florida, amending the nation’s renewable fuels corn etha- nol mandate, and reauthorization of the US Coast Guard budget top the list of legislative priorities. Forty-nine years after its found- ing, BoatUS begins a new era of growth and service to America’s boaters. For more information, Visit BoatUS.com. .COM ” ' “in: ékiifihiiifiibéi