MRAA Sponsors, Attends 2024 International Boating and Water Safety Summit

By Chad Tokowicz, MRAA Government Relations Manager

The MRAA recently sponsored the 2024 International Boating and Water Safety Summit (IBWSS), where the association’s government relations team presented insights from both the motorcycle and recreational boating industries. The event took place April 8-11 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Hosted by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, IBWSS is focused on bringing stakeholders in the recreational boating safety space together to network, learn and share, all with the focus of keeping recreational boaters safe on the water.

Founded in 1958, the NSBC serves as a national catalyst for developing a safe boating culture by providing education, programming and training for industry partners and the boating community to influence safe, secure and responsible boating. As MRAA Government Relations Manager, I serve as an at-large board member to provide a retail perspective and ensure that boating safety tenets permeate the recreational boating industry.

MRAA Sponsors, Attends 2024 International Boating and Water Safety Summit; Mike Sayre, MRAA Director of Government Relations presented
Mike Sayre

This year, the MRAA supported the event as a break sponsor to highlight our commitment to recreational boating safety while simultaneously educating attendees about our mission and opportunities for further collaboration. Additionally, Mike Sayre, MRAA Director of Government Relations, and I were selected to present as keynote and breakout speakers respectively. We leveraged our respective expertise in motorcycle and recreational boating safety to share important lessons with the audience while highlighting further collaboration opportunities with the MRAA.

In Sayre’s keynote, titled “The Safe Systems Approach: Lessons from the Motorcycle Industry,” he shared his experience with different approaches to roadway safety and the challenges of applying them to a user group like motorcyclists. He presented on the principles and components of the Safe System Approach adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation to address the pandemic era surge in roadway fatalities, how motorcyclist safety does and does not fit in that approach and how recreational boating safety faces similar challenges. Sayre challenged the audience to consider how different roadway safety strategies and countermeasures could be adapted to address recreational boating safety.

MRAA Sponsors, Attends 2024 International Boating and Water Safety Summit; Chad Tokowicz, MRAA Government Relations Manager, presented
Chad Tokowicz

As a breakout speaker, I focused on educating the crowd about how the MRAA and other partners in the recreational marine industry work to support mandatory boater education legislation and efforts throughout the country. In my presentation, “Cycle of Safety Legislation,” I gave an overview of recent efforts to expand mandatory boater education legislation and the successes and failures of those efforts. Throughout the presentation, I updated attendees on what the MRAA and industry partners are currently tracking and supporting in various states during our 2024 legislative sessions.

The presentation also highlighted opportunities to leverage marine retailers to ultimately share recreational boating safety messages with their customers and help create a safer community on the water overall. In my closing, I noted that solutions to recreational boating safety will not be solved with a silver bullet, and that instead a “silver buckshot” approach is necessary. I challenged the audience to think about how they can share boating safety messages and be part of the solution.

The MRAA will continue to support the NSBC and attend IBWSS as we believe that recreational boating safety is imperative to the ultimate success of marine retailers. We need boaters to have the best experiences on the water, ensuring they become lifelong participants.

If you have any questions about the topics covered by MRAA staff, want to learn more about IBWSS, or have general advocacy related questions, please do not hesitate to email me at

Photos courtesy of NSBC