The general membership of the Southern California Marine Association (SMCA) approved a merger of the regional trade group and boat show producer with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
According to The Log newspaper, Irvine, Calif., the move comes after months of discussions between the two organizations. The California group will cease to be a corporation, leaving its five California-based consumer boat shows in the hands of the Chicago-based NMMA.
The SCMA’s board met Tuesday to tally the membership’s vote. Ninety-three percent of members approved the merger.
J.R. Means, an SCMA board member and a Southern California yacht broker, told The Log that SCMA director Dave Geoffrey brought the merger idea to the board in January. Discussions followed with NMMA president Thom Dammrich and other representatives after the SCMA’s Los Angeles Boat Show. The final decision was left to SCMA members.
“The membership believes that with the strength of NMMA they will have a stronger organization — with more consumers coming to boat shows, more strength at boat shows and more money spent on growing boating in general,” Means said.
The hope is that by merging SCMA into a national organization, the group’s local boat shows and regional lobbying efforts will be boosted by the additional power and presence of NMMA, including additional event-producing expertise, more resources for local government lobbying and participation in nationwide boater promotions.
The future of the SCMA’s five boat shows remains in question. The group will decide which shows are viable. Marinafest in Marina del Rey, the Orange County Boat Festival in Newport Beach, the San Diego Yacht and Boat Show on Harbor Island and the Los Angeles Boat Show will continue as planned this year, Means said.
“The flagship, or crown jewel, is still the Los Angeles show,” Means said. “The NMMA is interested in making that back into the huge production that drew 40,000 to 50,000 people a year. That’s what they’re going to spend a lot of effort and energy on: creating a ‘Miami-esque’ show in Los Angeles again.”