The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA) announced to its statewide membership that An Act Relative to Abandoned Vessels (House Bill 4188), championed by lead sponsor State Representative Anthony J. Verga (Gloucester), has been signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick. The new law, which goes into effect on May 6, 2008, will streamline the behemoth process and reduce extraordinary expenses marinas and boatyards incur during lawful disposal of derelict vessels abandoned on their property. The change in law is critical to “clearing the decks” of unsightly derelicts that may pose environmental liabilities or attractive nuisances to trespassers. Abandoned boats are blights that generate no boatyard revenue, cost enormous time, money and effort to dispose of under prior law and occupy waterfront space that could otherwise accommodate responsible boat owners seeking boatyard services.
Thanks to the collective voice of the MMTA membership and Massachusetts Legislative Boating Caucus, founded and chaired by Representative Verga, phone call, email and letter writing campaigns launched over the past three years have secured a tremendous victory for the marine industry, public safety, environmental soundness and fundamental fairness. “The relationships that MMTA has forged with key elected officials, particularly the 50-plus members of the Boating Caucus, should renew faith in the legislative process and the desire of so many legislators to truly serve their constituencies. A common sense solution to an unfair situation was offered and Caucus members delivered favorable testimony, attended hearings and kept the bill alive without fan fair or gloss,” stated Kurt Saunders, MMTA President.
Upwards of 8,000 bills are filed biannually, the vast majority of which never reach the Governor’s desk. Securing passage of the Abandoned Vessel Legislation within 36 months is a testament to the dedication of the Massachusetts marine industry and its many supporters that recognize the value of an historic industry that generates nearly $2 billion annually for Commonwealth coffers.
Established in 1964, the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA) is the statewide, representative body for over 1,200 marine trades businesses in the Commonwealth, which employ over 27,000 men and women. The mission of the Association is to further the interests of the marine trades and the boating public through the promotion of boating, participation in legislation and professional improvement programs.