NOAA Proposal Threatens America’s Coastal Boating Industry

Randall Lyons from the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association joined John Methia on The Drift podcast to discuss how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) proposed restrictions on recreational boaters threaten to shut down America’s recreational boating and fishing industry along the eastern seaboard.

Driving the news: NOAA’s sweeping expansion of its current speed restrictions are overboard and will have significant, negative impacts on small businesses along the Atlantic coast. The proposed restriction would expand a 10 knot speed limit that primarily affects large ocean liners and cargo ships, and apply it to smaller recreational boats 35 feet or greater in length.

  • For many of the boats this expanded restriction applies to, travelling at at 11 knots or less would increase safety risks – travelling at low speeds during periods of high winds increases the risk of capsizing.

What they’re saying: Lyons fears that NOAA hasn’t fully examined how this proposed restriction would impact boaters, anglers and coastal communities: “That is one of the statistics that NOAA put out there that we thought was flawed. The impact they thought this would have would be on 9,000 boats. If you look at the Coast Guard’s data, it’s actually 63,000 registered boats.”

The big picture: Recreational boating and fishing are not only beloved by families and sportsmen and women looking to enjoy time out on the water, it is also a significant economic driver for many of America’s coastal communities.

Looking ahead: It is critical NOAA engages industry and community stakeholders to find a workable solution that will preserve boater safety and ensure economic vitality, while also protecting the marine life along the Atlantic Coast.

Go deeper: Hear more on how NOAA’s proposed restrictions threaten America’s recreational boating and fishing community by clicking here.