our plan out there. “It’s our industry following the lead of so many other industries, and
self-regulating rather than being subject to
far-reaching and unchangeable federal regulations,” says John Adey, president of ABYC
(and one of our own BoatU.S. Magazine
Founded in 1954, the ABYC today is
made up of more than 400 volunteers who
serve on the committees that author the standards, plus a small, dedicated full-time staff.
Each committee, known as a technical working group, digs deep into one standard, each
of which is reviewed on either a three- or
five-year cycle. The groups can be anywhere
from 14 to 45 members strong, made up of
a balance of boaters, boatbuilders, marine
surveyors, government agencies, accessory
manufacturers, insurance-industry experts,
and some BoatU.S. staff.
Through these technical working groups,
ABYC has written 58 standards, each of which
touches on a different aspect of boatbuilding.
The overall focus of each standard is safety,
regardless of whether it applies to internal
fuel tankage or the boat’s horn. Collectively,
the most recent edition of the standards total
1,152 pages. This phonebook-sized compen-
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dium of recommendations is available to all
boatbuilders for the cost of ABYC membership, but it is completely optional. It’s up
to the builder to decide whether or not to
follow these standards unless the builder
happens to be a member of the NMMA.
In 2003, the NMMA and ABYC joined
forces when the NMMA decided to start
enforcing ABYC standards through their certification process. Prior to that, the NMMA
relied on their own standards, similar to the
ABYC’s. Now, NMMA’s boatbuilder members
are required to participate in the certification
process. Thanks to their efforts, more than
180 boatbuilders now build to the standards,
and NMMA reports that around 85 percent of
the boats sold in the U.S. today are certified.
TOP TO BOTTOM
The certification process starts with designat-
ing someone at the boatbuilding plant as the
point person for the venture – a significant
role. That person is responsible for knowing
all 58 of the standards, inside and out, and
for educating the builder’s workforce how
to comply. The NMMA makes this easier
by hosting annual training seminars on the
standards, taught by NMMA and ABYC staff,
“One of our jobs is to help boatbuild-
ers evolve and comply with the standards,”
says Robert Newsome, NMMA director of
engineering standards. “It typically takes 40
to 50 hours annually to study for and take
the compliance exam.” The next step is to
submit a master list of all the boat models the
builder plans to make in the coming model
year. New models – or if the boatbuilder is
just beginning participation in the certifica-
tion program – must be scrutinized onsite by
a certification inspector.
During our inspection demonstration at
Carrier points out key elements
of a proper generator installation
and an enclosed cable run (in gray)
that keeps the engine room neat
and the wires protected.