Part 2 – Regulatory

Group shot with Lt Governor Kim Driscoll at the Business of Boating (BOB) conference 2024Jamy Buchanan Madeja, Esq., Buchanan & Associates talked about the regulatory updates for the state of Massachusetts. One of the big things coming down the pipeline is the Hanson/Malone Boater Safety Act. Massachusetts is the only state in New England that does not have a boater safety bill.

Buchanan & Associates has been representing the Association for over 20 years in legislative and government relations and they are the lobbyist for the MMTA as well. Her “job” at the BOB conference was to both educate and scare everyone just a tad. She started her presentation commending the audience on how committed and capable they are. Loves how businesses and boaters care about what they do. And appreciates the fact that when she gets a panic call about something, it’s because you, the businesses and boaters wants to do it right.

“Massachusetts is making the biggest and riskiest changes to Mass regulatory law in 40 years,” says Madeja. “These proposed changes by the Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are serious!” These are in regulatory affairs and has to do with new building prohibitions.

The exceptions in velocity zones are gone. You must elevate new buildings in certain zones. The standards and performance standards are now nature-based land treatment. No one is considering the technology or engineering. Nor is anyone advocating to disrespect nature. Madeja feels we all need to respect what mother nature can do. Build buildings, structures, docks, and piers to last. To be safe and to sustain projected sea level rise and windstorms.

The biggest concern is the wetlands proposed regs. This was put forth by Healey-Driscoll press release dated December 22, 2023 –

For anyone in Chapter 91, they can’t get their license until they adequately consider the projection of sea level rise sited on

If you’re a MMTA member send an email to for a copy of Madeja’s presentation. There is a lot more there than what I’ve commented on here.Group of marine industry experts attending the Bob conference

One last comment to scare us was that the new Mass Attorney General has an environmental head person that came from a nonprofit. Ugh! She likes citizen suits so take stormwater seriously.

There’s a boating caucus composed of 65 legislators. Check with your state rep or senator to find out if they are in this boating caucus. “If they say “Yes”, thank them,” says Madeja. “If they say “No”, tell them you’re their constituent and you’d be grateful if you would please join the boating caucus. The only thing they need to do is send an email and try to attend the meetings. That’s it!”

The caucus has four chairs – two Republicans, two Democrats. Will Strauss helps even when it’s not in his committee. He’s in transportation. The chairwoman is Susan Gifford. Both Patrick O’Connor and Senator Paul Feeney have never refused to file or support boaters on something they need. To find your legislator go to

If you have a topic you think should be covered at the boating caucus meetings, send and email to MMTA Executive Director, Randall Lyons at

Safe Boating Safe Act – Representative Kathleen LaNatra is the main sponsor for the boating education and safety bill. It does not impose or prevent sales for the boat dealers.

This is a beneficial change. Now you can have any new boater sit down and take the exam on a self-supervised computer. And if they pass, they get the certificate. If they don’t pass, they have to take the class over and over again until they pass it. Currently it applies only to boaters born after 1989. That’s 35 years or younger. If the bill doesn’t pass in 2024 then the actual year will change until it does pass. There are exceptions for marine trade workers and more. There’s also a grace period of 120 days from the time of the boat sale before the boater needs to take the exam.

The online exam must parallel the national association of state boating law administrators (NASBLA). NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. This means it has reciprocity for other states. The MA Environmental Police who are the enforcement agency related to on the water safe boating regulations need to approve any organization looking to provide this training and licensure in the future.

Lt Governor Kim Driscoll receives the “MMTA Elected Official of the year” award at the Business of Boating (BOB) conference 2024


Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll was presented with the “MMTA Elected Official of the Year” award.



Continue here for the Frank Farrell Distinguished Service Award, other announcements and industry updates.

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