Minnesota Recreational Boating Industry Stands Up for Boater Education

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, March 16 — The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas applauds members of the Minnesota recreational boating industry for their support of a Minnesota Boater Educational Bill during a Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance committee. Jeremy Wiczek, Sales Manager at Nisswa Marine., Gabriel Jabbour, Owner of Tonka Bay Marina, and Jill C. Sims, Manager of Great Lakes Policy and Engagement for the National Marine Manufacturers Association all testified in support of the bill.

SF 3392 will phase in mandatory boater education in Minnesota and set up educational requirements for boat rental operations. This carefully drafted bill included input from a large group of stakeholders ranging from boat dealers, manufacturers, rental operations, lake-property owners and members of the tourism sector, all of whom support this initiative. This bill is being introduced in response to a massive increase of boaters on Minnesota’s already crowded waters.

“With over 18 years of experience in the boating industry, I have seen firsthand the increase of boaters on Minnesota waters,” says Jeremy Wiczek, Sales Manager at Nisswa Marine. “Marine dealers stand behind SF 3392 and boater education, as it is a piece of common-sense legislation that will only improve the fabric of Minnesota’s boating community by putting safer operators on the water.”

Currently, there are more than 825,000 registered boats on Minnesota waters, making it second to Florida. Furthermore, boater sales skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, putting an unprecedented number of new boaters on the water and emphasizing the need for more boater education.

“While Minnesota boasts the second most registered boats in the country, where we are falling behind is in boater education and safety training,” says Jill C. Sims, Manager of Great Lakes Policy and Engagement, NMMA. “Of the top 10 boating states by registration, Minnesota is the only state that does not require boater education that extends beyond youth. The recreational boating industry has long championed proactive education measures and this move from the Minnesota legislature is a great step toward ensuring our boaters are safe on and near the water.”

Boater education in Minnesota is supported not only by the recreational boating and fishing industry, but also law enforcement and by conservation, environment and lake association organizations like the Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocate and MNCOLA. This bill will better align boating with other recreational products in Minnesota by creating an accessible education course for boaters while also tailoring the course to deliver key messages for Minnesota residents, like how to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.

If you have any questions about SF 3392, or would like to learn more, contact Chad Tokowicz, Government Relations Manager, MRAA, or click one of the links below:
Boater Education One Pager
Coalition Letter of Support
Fishing and Boating Organizations Letter of Support

About the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
At the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, we believe that for the marine industry to thrive, the retail organizations that interact with the boaters in their community must thrive. With that in mind, MRAA works to create a strong and healthy boating industry by uniting those retailers, providing them with opportunities for improvement and growth, and representing them with a powerful voice. For more information, visit MRAA.com or contact us at 763-315-8043.