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Nominations sought for BoatU.S. Recreational Boating Access Award

By Staff | Jul 14, 2009

With boaters in some parts of the country continuing to have a hard time gaining access to the water, the nation’s largest boat owners group, BoatU.S. says there have been successful grassroots solutions to the problem. However, many civic-minded boaters may not be aware of these initiatives, which is why the association is sponsoring the third annual BoatU.S. Recreational Boating Access Award.

With nominations now being accepted until Oct. 1, 2009, the award recognizes those individuals or groups who have succeeded in preserving or improving public waterway access, and hopes to share their strategies with others.

“Ultimately, boating access is a local issue. The aim of this award is to recognize those advocates across the U.S. who are succeeding in reversing this trend, and to share those efforts with others so that they may also be successful in improving boating access,” said Nancy Michelman, president of the 600,000-member association.

Waterfront residential development, regulatory red tape, increased taxes, poor land-use planning and more restrictive zoning are just some of the factors contributing to the decline of waterway access for recreational boats.

“Some municipalities are levying hefty tax hikes for marinas. Boat clubs and yards are often assessed at highest use tax rates, which can be the last nail in the coffin for a public marina. Some marina operators simply give up after being stymied for years of increasing taxes as well as miles of red tape required to get a permit to dredge, maintain or expand docks,” added Michelman.

Judges will look at four criteria: First, the challenges faced in retaining or increasing access in an area; Second, the direct impact or measurable results of the solution; Third, the level of success in increasing awareness of the importance of boating access to a community and; Fourth, “repeatability,” the ability to use the successful approach as a model for other areas.

Examples of solutions could include creative public/private partnerships, changes in land use planning or permitting processes, tax incentives, legislation or public ballots, publicity or public education. Eligible activities must to have been undertaken in the last three years.

The deadline for applications is Oct. 1, 2009 and winners will be announced by Oct. 31. For more information or a look at last year’s winners, go to www.BoatUS.com/gov/AccessAward Previous entrants are asked not to reapply.

BoatU.S. – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 600,000 members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For membership information, visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.