The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, inspired by an association leader who has seen success with a similar initiative at the local level, recently announced its plan to attract youths to boating.
A boating group in Massachusetts won’t let the sport fade away.
Concerned about an aging boating population, the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association recently launched the MMTA Youth Boating Task Force, a new division targeting young boaters.
“We are excited to support the Massachusetts marine-related businesses from within the association with the goal of getting more kids on the water,” MMTA Director and Third Vice President Randall Lyons said in a statement [PDF]. “Our association seeks to encourage other trade groups around the country to follow suit as we all look to grow the boating industry for many generations to come.”
MMTA task force members will put their heads together to figure out how to jumpstart greater access to boating programs, events, and programs for children. Members of the nonprofit association, which represents more than 1,200 businesses in the state’s marine industry, have traditionally depended on generations of boating families and their friends for business. This task force would work to expand that clientele.
Ultimately, the MMTA wants to help young people have more experiences with boating.
A Local Strategy Grows
The new task force was inspired by the work of Lyons himself, who put together a successful local program focused on the same issue. Lyons, who is also the business manager of Newburyport Marinas, started the Merrimack River Youth Boating Task Force on his own.
He included Coast Guard members, harbor managers, and marina operators, in addition to other marine-industry workers.
“I started thinking what can I do to make a difference to try to help this overall goal of getting kids on the water and ultimately help the stability of the business,” Lyons explained to Boating Industry, “because if we keep going at that rate, we’re going to age right out of [business] and it could become a major problem in the future.”
The local initiative has been successful, thanks to Lyons, and it led to him speaking about the issue at a Recreational Boating Leadership Council (RBLC) meeting in Washington, DC. Lyons is now working with the RBLC to explore the possibility of putting on a National Kids Boating Day next year.
Considering the success he’s seen with the strategy, it wasn’t difficult for the MMTA board to accept Lyons’ proposal, which creates a task force that would emphasize increased boating access for children.
“As far as I’m concerned, if you’re invested in the future of the boating industry, it’s a necessary thing that people need to be paying a little bit more attention to going forward,” Lyons added in his comments to Boating Industry. “These youth boating programs have the knowledge and understanding to do it and they’re doing it today, so I think by supporting them it ultimately supports the future of the industry.”