CICERO, NY – The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has named the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York/BIA as the 2014 Bill Ferguson Award winner for outstanding service by a marine trades association to its members and to the boating industry. BIA Executive Director Barb Caster received the award on behalf of the 80-plus member association at the 2014 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL, in November.
‘The Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York is tremendous in terms of the service it provides to its members. The group is active in state-level politics, puts on an impressive boat show each year, works tirelessly to promote and advocate for safe boating, and goes above and beyond to support member education,’ said Marine Retailers Association of the Americas Vice President Liz Walz.
The BIA, headquartered in Cicero, works with diverse federal, state, industry and public partners to encourage boating throughout the upstate region of New York and to keep the public current on safety issues, marine laws and regulations, and sound boating practices for all ages.
The association organizes an annual February event that is one of the largest boat shows in the state. The Central New York Boat Show fills more than 250,000 square feet with boats, information exhibits and boating safety and educational activities at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
BIA is active at the state level, with several members serving on the Empire State Marine Trades Association board of directors and participating in boating advocacy efforts in the state capital.
BIA provides a breadth of professional development opportunities, including sponsoring members to attend the annual Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, hosting a Marine Retail University, and partnering with New York Sea Grant to offer member training.
The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas recognized the Discover Clean & Safe Boating campaign, developed in 2008 in partnership with New York Sea Grant, as one of the crowning achievements of the BIA. Each year, a different type of vessel serves as the Clean and Safe Boating educational vessel, travelling the state to boat shows, waterfront events, Empire Farm Days, and, in 2014, to the New York State Fair. The vessels are equipped with all the required and recommended gear for clean, safe and lawful boating. To date, the campaign has educated more than half a million boaters about how to be legal, safe and environmentally friendly on NY waters.
The Discover Clean and Safe Boating campaign has spun off additional public education outreach, including a Discover Better Boating series of short information segments with marina operators, boat dealers and other boating industry professionals that airs monthly May through October on Time Warner Cable News, reaching more than half-a-million viewers annually.
In-water demonstrations sponsored by BIA and offered by New York Sea Grant and the US Coast Guard Auxiliary educate the public on how to select the proper life jacket for all ages and the family dog, and have included canoe and kayak safety information.
A new-in-2014 Discover Better Boating Tips service provides BIA members with a monthly quick tip on safety practices, seasonal reminders, and new products to post to websites, Facebook and other social media tools.
BIA activities have been featured on the I Love New York Beat website and in such national publications as Marina Dock Age magazine, Great Lakes Fisherman, Waterways Ontario/Canada, and Boating Industry magazine.
‘These are just a few of the myriad ways the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York provides outstanding value to its members and helps bolster the marine industry overall,’ Walz notes.
Recent past recipients of the MRAA Bill Ferguson Award include The Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, Boating Trades Association of Metro Houston, and National Marine Trades Council. For more information on MRAA, visit MRAA.com.
More information on BIA is online at www.cnybia.com.
Find the Discover Clean and Safe Boating campaign at www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/articles/t/great-lakes-boating-marine-trades-topics.