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May 2017

Gov. Inslee signs NMTA Pilotage Bill

Washington state continues to roll out the welcome mat for bigger boats with Gov. Inslee’s signing of the NMTA Pilotage Bill (Senate Bill 5262). 

The bill provides a path for superyachts up to 1,300 gross tons and 200 feet to enter Washington state without needing a pilot on board. Once successfully completing the exemption process, these vessels can receive a waiver and cruise Washington’s waters.

This success builds upon NMTA’s Marine Tourism Bill, which was passed in 2015 after being introduced 4 years prior. The Marine Tourism Bill allows yachts registered as an LLC to stay in Washington waters 180 days before a 10 percent tax on the value of the boat is imposed by the state of Washington. Previously, boats would owe about ten percent of their value on that 61st day in Washington state.

“While small in number, these vessels pack a punch when it comes to boosting local communities,” said NMTA Dir. Of Government Affairs Peter Schrappen. “We are hustling to get these boats here and have them stay here in the Northwest. Our region can compete with any other area of the world for scenery and workforce. Now, we are succeeding on improving the legislation, too.”

The new law takes effect July 23, 2017.

Balance Industries, Inc.
Aasgard Summit Management Services
American Marine Training Center 
Baranof Romanzof Fishing Co. 
Confluence Outdoor 
Ed’s Surplus
K & R Marine 
Lake Union Charters & Adventures 
Latitude Marine Group 
Leverage Business Consulting 
Nautical Beans 
Nixon’s Marine 
Reynolds Marine Design 
Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance 
Sunburst Boat Company 
Westar Marine Services

June 15: Member BBQ, Anacortes
July 14-16: Kirkland Uncorked Boat Show
In This Issue: January 2017

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President's Report
May 2017

I love this time year – so much optimism! The long days of summer in front of us and so much to look forward to.  As I write, hundreds of boats are preparing for Opening Day festivities, anglers are gearing up for shrimp, lingcod and salmon fishing, and we just wrapped up our fourth Northwest Paddling Festival at Lake Sammamish State Park May 12-13. 

Here is a rundown of a few topics on my mind from the first quarter of 2017

NMTA Newsletter - WaterLife
We’ve decided to make WaterLife a quarterly newsletter for both the print and electronic versions. I write this with some angst because monthly newsletters have been a staple of association and non-profits for decades, including the NMTA. That said, we have seven different social media channels with over 22,000 followers, a blog, and four websites (NMTA, Seattle Boat Show, Northwest Salmon Derby Series, Northwest Paddling Festival) to keep you in the loop. Going forward, the NMTA staff will further embrace these channels for sharing timely information and news with our members and other stakeholders. 

Seattle Boat Show Recap
What did we do right? What could we have done better? For the past 18 years, we have asked exhibitors and attendees these two questions after every show. Our staff and Boat Show Committee ask these questions year-round.

The first “did right” that comes to mind and is worth celebrating is that we had 51,684 enthusiastic boaters and buyers come to CenturyLink Field and/or South Lake Union. It’s important to point out we don’t count exhibitors or un-redeemed tickets. As reported to our exhibitors, this is 563 fewer attendees than we saw in 2016. I know we had buyers at the show because, thanks to UW SeaGrant and the Department of Licensing (DOL), we know that new unit sales for February were up 14.5 percent and the value of these new boats sold was up an impressive 133.6 percent.

We strive to increase our attendance every year and I was surprised and disappointed that we did not see even a small attendance increase. I was surprised because our advanced e-ticket sales were up 32 percent the day the show opened. I think we are a leader and innovator with our boat show digital, social media, and retargeted digital advertising. Our aggressive digital advertising was clearly driving ticket sales, but in the end, it appears attendees chose to buy their tickets online rather than at the box office. Our staff and Boat Show Committee are focused on how we will attract new boaters and inspire former boaters for 2018. If you have a suggestion or an idea, I’m all ears, and I encourage you to contact myself or Boat Show Director Katie McPhail.

Another “did right” is the quality and variety of our free boating and fishing seminars along with our paid Boat Show University seminars. Nearly 8,000 people attended these seminars that show our guests how to be successful on 155 different boating and fishing topics from A to Z - literally - anchoring to New Zealand cruising. The Seattle Boat Show is known nationally for our extensive list of seminars and seminar attendance. Our seminars help Northwest boaters be more successful and confident on the water, which increases boating activity and retention.

Attendees also love the variety and quality of our exhibitors. This year we had 442 different business on the exhibitor list for both locations. The Seattle Boat Show showcases all of the business types that make up the diverse Northwest boating ecosystem.

Twenty-three percent of our attendee comments about the show say the show is “great and can’t be improved.” I think that is impressive, but we must keep a close eye on other attendee comments that tell us what we can do better to improve for next year. The top 5 suggestions in order are: 1) more sailboats, 2) more affordable boats, 3) shorter lines at our Friday wine and beer tasting events, 4) more convenient and less expensive parking, and 5) unfriendly sales people. While all are areas worthy of attention, the third and fourth suggestions are areas that we can address most quickly. In particular, parking is something I will look to address for 2018, as well as better communicating the parking options. 

All in all, the 70th annual Seattle Boat Show was a huge success.  New boat sales were up impressively, nearly 1,000 new and brokerage boats were moved into two locations uneventfully, and over 50,000 boaters were inspired for another year of Northwest boating.

Sales Data
First quarter Washington state sales data is available now in the Members Only section of www.NMTA.net. As I mentioned above, February saw an impressive increase in both units and value. However, for Quarter 1, new unit sales are essentially flat with new units down 15 boats (or minus 2.1 percent) and values up 17.4 percent. For those of you that have registered a boat recently with DOL, you may have noticed that they have updated their data systems (DRIVES as DOL calls them) and are asking for new information and have added new choices such as POD drives for propulsion and a completely new category for fuel type. For 2017, it will make direct comparisons to previous years a bit challenging when looking closely at vessel characteristics, but going forward it should give us better information about the fleet of recreational boats in Washington.

Board Elections & Bylaw Change
Members should have received a paper ballot for our annual election of three NMTA voting members to serve on the NMTA Board of Trustees. You can view the Board Bios here. Elected Board members serve a 3-year term and meet monthly with fiduciary responsibility for the association. In other words – they guide the association strategically, set policy, approve the annual budget and act in the best interest of our members.

A paper ballot with multiple envelopes seems awfully outdated today and that is what the proposed Bylaw revision addresses. If you would think it would be helpful for NMTA to vote electronically than please vote to approve the bylaw revision. This revision has been unanimously approved by the NMTA Board and reviewed by our legal counsel, and I think it will make it easier for more of our members to vote.

Salmon Fishing Opportunity
For those of you that depend on recreational fishing opportunity for your business, particularly salmon fishing, you were likely following this year’s North of Falcon negotiations between the co-managers (Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Treaty Tribes). Compared to last year, the outcome this year was significantly better, because in the end there was an agreement. Last year, for the first time ever since North of Falcon began in the early 1980s there was no agreement on saltwater salmon seasons resulting in anglers asking themselves if they would be able to fish at all in 2016. In the end, an agreement was reached last year, but the damage was already done. Trailerable boat sales, the majority of which are used for fishing, pretty much stopped and we saw no increase in our year-end totals of trailerable boats.

I encourage you to read this month’s Tony’s Tackle Box from our Director of Fishing Affairs Tony Floor, to hear from Tony, as only Tony can, give you his recap of North of Falcon and his outlook for the year. It’s important to point out that Mother Nature has not been kind to salmon the past two years with high water temperatures, and biologists expecting at least another year of similar conditions. There were serious conservation issues the co-managers needed to address, which resulted in less opportunity than in recent years. It’s important to remind our members that like WDFW and its biologists, NMTA fully supports Mark Selective Fishing (MSF) as our number one conservation tool. In simple terms, this means catch and release of wild Chinook and coho salmon, and harvest of marked hatchery fish. Our state invests millions of taxpayer dollars and a significant portion of our yearly license fees so we can have recreational and commercial fisheries. NMTA will continue to work to make sure recreational anglers have access to these fish.

Have a great summer and see you on the water.

George Harris

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Vote now in the 2017 NMTA Elections 

Six candidates are running for election to three open positions on the NMTA Board of Trustees. Each elected term lasts three years, beginning July 1, 2017. Ballots were mailed on May 5 to all voting members. Completed ballots must be received at the NMTA office by 5 p.m. on June 2. 

Click HERE to review the candidate bios

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Membership Update
Kate Anderson, NMTA Membership Director

Welcome new members!

Aasgard Summit Management Services is a comprehensive Claims Management and Risk Management Consulting company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Their office is located in Fishermen’s Terminal and they are members of the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owner’s Association (NPFVOA), who we are now partnering with for the NMTA Health Trust.

American Marine Training Center is located in Sequim, WA and is USGA approved and specializes in lower-level deck licenses including Master, not more than 100 Tons, and OUPV (Six-Pack). They are a perfect resource if you are interested in getting trained for the water!

Baranof Romanzof Fishing Co. is a fishing company and management group out of Seattle that catches and processes seafood from some of the world’s healthiest sustainable fisheries. They are also members of the NPFVOA. We are happy to welcome them aboard!

Confluence Outdoor hails from South Carolina but has been actively involved with the Northwest Paddling Festival over the years. We are excited to welcome them as members and get more involved with paddle sports in the Pacific Northwest. 

Ed’s Surplus is a family business in operation since 1957 in Lynnwood, WA. They carry fishing, hunting, camping, and outdoors supplies. They also buy and trade military surplus.

K & R Marine specializes in installation of new electronics and electrical systems as well as troubleshooting and repairs of existing systems. They are located in beautiful La Conner, WA. 

Lake Union Charters & Adventures started four years ago and reaches out to those who have not been out on the water or want to get out on the water more. They have different group sails and events that are perfect for your business or a fun trip with friends and family. 

Latitude Marine Group is located in La Conner, WA  and is a small service boatyard that provides craftsmanship and a comprehensive range of services for fiberglass, metal and wood vessels. Their 100-ton sling lift is the largest in the area and was built in 2001.

Leverage Business Consulting is out of the Seattle area and specializes in consulting and has a large following in the marine industry. They are excited to join as members and get more involved with the NMTA membership!

Nautical Beans joined us at the 2017 Seattle Boat Show and is out of the Seattle area. They create portals for boat chartering, fishing chartering, scuba chartering software for charter business management, and yard management.

Nixon’s Marine has been in business since 1959 in Walla Walla, WA and has been a trusted source for all your fishing boat needs. They carry a wide selection of products and offer services for the Ranger, Triton, Skeeter, Legend, Crestliner, Mercury, Yamaha and Evinrude lines. Next time you’re in Walla Walla stop by and say “Hi!”. 

North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners Association (NPFVOA) is located in Fishermen’s Terminal in Ballard, WA. We are excited to welcome them and their fleet into the NMTA Health Trust. 

Reynolds Marine Design joined us at the 2017 Seattle Boat Show, and specialize in manufacturing submarine vessels for survey, sport, transport, etc. 

Snag-A-Slip is located in Maryland and created a system that allows boaters to explore marinas by region and search for boat slip availability based on length, beam, depth and power requirements. We met them at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and are pleased that they’re expanding their work to the Pacific Northwest. 

Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance is located in Bellingham, WA and is one of the largest independent agencies in northwest Washington, covering the entire scope of insurance. They are looking forward to getting more connected in the maritime industry statewide through NMTA.

Sunburst Boat Company was established in 1985 and is located in the West Seattle area. They exhibited in the 2017 Seattle Boat Show and specialize in service and installation of reverse osmosis desalinators suitable for use on pleasure crafts from 25 feet all the way to cruise ships.
Westar Marine Services is located in Northlake and is headquartered in San Francisco but came to Seattle for the 520 Bridge Project. Westar operates tugs and barges in both San Francisco and Seattle that extend to Alaska. We are excited to welcome Westar into the NMTA family!

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Legislative Report
Peter Schrappen, NMTA Director of Government Affairs

The Search for Leadership
Big hairy systems. No doubt you are familiar with what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s your electronics system or your watermaker system. Boating and systems, like peanut butter and jelly go hand in hand. Hopefully by now you can see that, like boating, politics, and government affairs are a big, broad, interrelated system and require a “systems thinking” to truly apprehend what the heck happens in the various levels of government. Systems thinking is the management discipline that concerns an understanding of a system by examining the linkages and interactions between the components that comprise the entirety of that defined system. 

That’s pretty wordy. Another way to think about it is to be solution-oriented (versus problem-oriented). It’s the silo-approach of analytical thinking (boo!) versus the collaborative, integrated system that produces the flow necessary to create energy and progress. This mindset is not parochial to just boating and politics. It’s around everywhere and can transform your thinking, producing doorways just when a wall appeared.
There’s more to systems. It’s understanding the theoretical and overlaying that with what happens in the day-to-day life. It’s understanding that systems success is on the other side of the “systems failure” coin. Systems thinking battle analytic thinking all over the place. It’s the “not my job” to the “communications and collaboration”. When it comes to a winning formula, it’s understanding that with limited resources, a shared vision across many interests trump isolated tackling of constant means with little regard to an end. Sound familiar? 

Understanding that a small interest group (like yachting) can raise our profile by shimying up with other groups can turn a loosely-assembled dispirited “bunch” to a team. And as a faithful reader, you know that’s exactly what is occurring. 

Here are few recent highlights: 
  • No Discharge Zone: This move by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the federal Environmental Protection Agency would ban marine sanitation devices in Puget Sound, creating a No Discharge Zone. Five years of working with a coalition that included boaters, recreational boating businesses and the tug and barge industry (represented by the American Waterways Operators) came down to a phone call I received at the last possible moment before the EPA head resigned. While the news wasn’t what we had hoped (EPA approved Ecology’s petition), the timing will play into our favor. I can’t imagine that the Trump administration will be too enthused about implementing an NDZ predicated by a sloppy process, odd math, and a last-minute decision.
  • Washington Maritime Federation Day in Olympia: When it comes to maritime interests, recreational boating is a fraction of the overall $30 billion maritime enterprise in Washington state. While our profile may not stand up to big burly ports, that’s okay. Boaters live, work, and play in Washington state. Fortunately, the Washington Maritime Federation, an association of maritime associations, has gone out of their way to consult with the Recreational Boating Association and Northwest Marine Trade Association. Whether it’s working overtime with economists to ensure that this $4 billion sector of recreational boating and fishing are included in a new economic study (stay tuned!) or checking in on our legislative agenda, this new-ish organization embraces systems and boaters are better off for that understanding.
  • Fishing: Did you know that over half of all recreational boats are used for fishing? As Washington state’s Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) looks to raise fees on anglers during this legislative session, a coalition representing anglers, business and conservation-minded citizens has put forth our own proposal. This package includes re-appointing Larry Carpenter to the Fish & Wildlife Commission, getting the gillnets out of the main stem of the Columbia River and setting predictable fishing seasons. 
I could go on. I haven’t even broached the outdoor recreation economy, organized  under the “Big Tent Coalition”. Plus, there was the NMTA-RBAW Lobby Day on February 9. There was the Washington Boating Alliance Leadership Summit on February 2, which had 55 attendees and three agency heads (Directors Cottingham of the Recreation Conservation Office, Hoch of State Parks and Franz of the Office of Public Lands (aka the Department of Natural Resources). 

What I’ve learned is that good things happen when you put yourself in a position to succeed. As Wayne Gretzky likes to say, “I missed 100 percent of the shots I didn’t take.” This collaborative approach serves as the boaters’ backbone of our system, mobilizing toward consensus and priorities with a quantifiable legislative agenda are the secret sauce. Our core strategy is an open book. Let’s see where this continues to get us.

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Dealer Outlook: For every dealer, it comes down to passion
One of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, says: “Everything begins with leadership.” I agree. But looking one step further, I’m convinced that to be a successful leader requires a genuine daily passion for the boating business and the good that emanates from it.

If you’ll indulge a personal reflection here, I loved and had a passion for what I was doing as head of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association for more than 34 years. I’d tell my wife, Kay: “I haven’t worked a day in all these years.” Even now, I couldn’t write these two blogs every week (for nearly 10 years now) if I didn’t have a passion for trying to say something that might help a reader or two.

But make no mistake. Everything accomplished in those many years wasn’t me — it was clearly the success of a team. Blessed to have fellow workers who made things happen, I’d like to believe my contribution was my genuine passion for what we were doing and that others could see it. So, no disrespect to Maxwell, but perhaps he should say: “Everything begins with the passion of the leader.”

I’m convinced everyone who leads (a dealership owner, general manager, sales manager, service manager and on down the line) needs to show a passion for our boating business if real success is to be experienced. Help your team reach full potential by always modeling an attitude that inspires them to reach new levels of success. But with today’s 24/7 obligations, sustaining that passion might not be so easy.

So I’ll share that for me, reading what very successful people have said — motivating quotes — always pumps me up. “That’s for me,” I tell myself. Here, then, are 12 of many I kept on cards in a box on my desk. I still often randomly pull out a couple. Hopefully some will ring true for you:
  • Life’s battles don’t always go to the strongest or fastest; sooner or later those who win are those who think they can. —Richard Bach, author
  • Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. — Vince Lombardi, coach
  • For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough. —  Zig Ziglar, author
  • Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. — John D. Rockefeller
  • High expectations are the key to everything. — Sam Walton
  • Begin by always expecting good things to happen. — Tom Hopkins, author-trainer
  • Live out of your imagination, not your history. —Stephen Cove, author
  • Never, never, never quit. — Winston Churchill
  • In any game, somebody is going to lose. But it doesn’t need to be me — Bobby Knight, coach
  • You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself — Harvey Firestone, industrialist
  • I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day — Mark Sanborn, author
And last, something I fondly say to others all the time: “I believe in reverse Murphy’s Law . . . something good is going to happen today, it’s going to happen to me, and I can’t wait to see what it is!” (I have no idea who said it or where I heard it, but I remind myself of it every day.)
Norm Schultz writes the “Dealer Outlook” blog that appears in Soundings’ www.TradeOnlyToday.com every Tuesday and Thursday. He served as president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association for 34 years during which he directed production for over 130 boat shows in the Great Lakes region.

Norm Schultz writes the “Dealer Outlook” blog that appears in Soundings’ www.TradeOnlyToday.com every Tuesday and Thursday. He served as president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association for 34 years during which he directed production for over 130 boat shows in the Great Lakes region. 

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Bellevue man wins new boat from Washington's Lottery at Seattle Boat Show

After selling his family’s six-person boat a year ago, Bellevue resident and boat lover Ryan Inman attended the Seattle Boat Show on Jan. 28 in search of a new, bigger boat that would allow him to entertain his extended family.

While at the boat show, Inman bought $10 in Scratch tickets and received one entry for Washington’s Lottery’s drawing to win a Starcraft Pontoon EX 23 R powered by Mercury. Inman went home, scratched his tickets and was thrilled to see he won $20.

“The drawing was the farthest thing from my mind after we got home,” Inman said in a press release from Washington’s Lottery.

Inman later got a call notifying him that his only entry into the drawing ended up being the big winner. When Inman found out he won the boat, he called his friends, family and coworkers to share the good news. He told Lottery officials he’s always liked pontoon boats and had been keeping his eye out for “a killer deal” on one.

“This is such a useful boat to have because we’re always having relatives visit from out of town, so it will be perfect for entertaining,” Inman said.

He told his family to dress warm so they can get the boat on the water and start having fun now, but he has even bigger plans for his boat once summer rolls around.
“We’re getting tubes, wake boards and a barbecue,” he said.

Proceeds from Washington’s Lottery benefit the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, providing grants to college students statewide. For information, visit www.walottery.com.

Reprinted with permission from Bellevue Reporter.  

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Fish Northwest: Fish less, pay more?
Carl Burke, Fish Northwest Lobbyist 

The Washington State legislative session ended on Sunday, April 23 without a budget agreement between the two houses.  

The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife requested a general fee increase bill that in its original form would have raised fees by around 70 percent.  The proposal received a good deal of opposition in the House of Representatives from a number of interest groups as being too complicated and not justifiable, and as a result, the bill did not pass. However, because the bill is a fiscal bill, it is still alive until special session ends. Currently, the senate budget does not have a fee increase in it but the governor’s budget in the house does have an approximately 20 percent fee increase for sport anglers. 

Recently, WDFW has introduced a substitute bill which requests a fee increase of approximately 20 percent to the state’s anglers. The hunters will be asked to pay an increase of 7 percent while the commercial fishers will be largely unaffected by the proposal. The legislature can change any of the proposed substitute language during the remainder of session or deny the fee increase altogether.

Those of us at Fish Northwest continue to work with the agency and legislators on a daily basis to craft the final outcome.  We have been consistent with two messages.  First, we recognize that the agency needs money. Sport fishing license sales is the largest single revenue generator to the department. Secondly, as their biggest customer we need to see specific increases in sport fishing opportunity. We are concerned that we are continually asked to pay more for less opportunity.   

WDFW and the commission are currently involved in the North of Falcon season setting process and we are working collaboratively with the commission and agency to identify specific sport fishing opportunities that will benefit our businesses and increase angling opportunities. In Puget Sound this has proven to be a difficult process due to below average returns of coho and Chinook. 

The Columbia River returns will result in angling opportunities that are far more promising. The WDFW Commission is working the Oregon Commission to establish joint concurrent regulations. Oregon has repeatedly tried to back out of previously agreed upon management policies. The Oregon commission wants to allow for more non-selective gillnet harvest in the lower Columbia River. To the credit of the Washington Commission and WDFW staff they have refused to concede because of conservation concerns and the resulting overharvest of wild ESA listed stocks.  Hopefully, all these issues will be resolved in the coming month.

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NMTA Awards $28,600 to eleven organizations in Grow Boating grants

The Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) is pleased to announce that it has awarded $28,600 to eleven boating programs in the Northwest as part of the association’s Grow Boating Grant Program. The program exists to assist non-profit groups or organizations that help serve NMTA's core purpose – increasing the number of boaters in the Northwest, and encouraging boaters to boat more often.

“There are so many different programs and organizations in the Northwest that get people out on the water,” said NMTA Dir. Of Communications Karsten McIntosh. “We’re really fortunate to be able to award funding towards these organizations that help us fulfill our mission.”

The 2017 grantees are: 
1.    Anacortes Small Boat Center
2.    Duwamish Rowing Club 
3.    Peak 7 Adventures
4.    Point Defiance Marina
5.    Sail Kingston Cove
6.    Sail Sand Point
7.    Tacoma Community Boat Builders
8.    Sound Experience 
9.    Port Townsend High School Sailing 
10.    Community Boating Center
11.    The Sailing Foundation

Organizations interested in applying for a grant for 2018 can find the application online at nmta.net beginning January 1

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May 2017
I learned a new phrase a few weeks ago which is a Latin saying called “Carpe diem.”

It’s a very strange phrase; however, I like the meaning. Carpe diem means to seize the day and put little trust into tomorrow. When I think about the recent outcome a few weeks ago at the annual North of Falcon salmon season setting process it causes me to want to head to a tattoo shop to have Carpe diem welded on my shoulder!

For those who know me, my attitude towards sport salmon fishing is to focus on what we can do, versus what we can’t do. And, for the second time in as many years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has delivered a semi-load of ‘can’t dos’ to the 2017-18 sport salmon fishing season, with emphasis on marine waters from Sekiu to Bellingham.

On the flip side, and to be fair to the North of Falcon outcome, there are a decent amount of ‘Can dos’ which are highlighted by significant improvements in central and northern Puget Sound catch quotas, especially for hatchery-produced Chinook salmon.

So, while you gather information on whether this year’s salmon season package is good or bad, it very much depends on where you like to fish, whether it’s the Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, or all of the above. While you look for a smoking gun, you do not need to look beyond the end of your nose to find good ‘ol Mother Nature holding the gun. The El Niño of 2015-16, with the warm water mass of “The Blob”, caused havoc to salmon survival rates. Last year was the first year anglers were whacked with conservation-based restrictions delivered by Mother Nature. And 2017 will be the second consecutive year of paying the conservation price, which will likely be carried forward through 2018.

May means prawns in most Puget Sound waters as the season opens May 6. Shellfish biologists say this year’s test fisheries showed healthy numbers of spot prawns in most areas. Bob Cannon, Westport, pulled this pot loaded with spot prawns in the San Juan Islands during last year’s opener.

Back at the turn of the 21st century, many saltwater salmon anglers, including this cat, believed mass marking of Chinook and coho salmon (removal of the adipose fin at salmon hatcheries) would lead anglers to target hatchery-produced fish in expanded seasons while releasing and protecting wild fish. That isn’t necessarily the case today, as expanded closures and sport fishing restrictions have resulted in reducing fishing opportunities in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands for the upcoming seasons despite the evolution of selective fishing for hatchery-produced fish.

Releasing wild Chinook and coho salmon isn’t good enough anymore, especially in the tribes view, which was agreed to by WDFW and witnessed by participants in the discussions between the two parties. Sport salmon fishing closures are becoming the choice of salmon managers in these annual negotiations versus relying on selective fishing. Just ask the sport salmon fishing community in Port Angeles and Sequim as their winter and spring blackmouth fishery for hatchery-produced fin-clipped Chinook salmon went from a five month season to six weeks.

Now that the 2017-2018 salmon season (May 1 through April 30) is set, I recommend careful examination of where you intend to fish for Chinook, coho and pink salmon in the months ahead. Similar to many other years, planning is critically important to opportunity and success.

And by the way, if I’ve left you scratching your head to this writing, HB 1647 is alive in the legislature which proposes to increase your sport salmon fishing license fees beginning April 1, 2018. The Northwest Marine Trade Association and other sport fishing advocacy groups have been working with WDFW, the legislature, and the governor’s office to see if a fee increase is really necessary. If the answer is yes, depending on who you ask, it is our priority to ensure sport fishing priorities and benefits are realized.

Here Comes the Spot Prawn Season
Sort it out, Vernon, the summer salmon fishing season is coming and it’s time to finalize your plans. Carpe diem baby! See you on the water!

Sooke, Port Renfrew, Barkley Sound, Tofino, Nootka Sound, and Esperanza Inlet, to name a few. For the last 13 years, I have made the trek to Tahsis in early July to fish coastal waters including the north facing shoreline at Ferrer Point, Nootka Island. All day long trolling naked herring off the kelp beds in 50-80 feet of water, down 30 feet on the downrigger, the king salmon go crunchie-munchie. Two kings per angler per day, four in possession. It’s a slam dunk! Sign me up for 2017!

For several recent decades, Canada has recognized the economic importance of sport fishing which is very refreshing. As a result, they have adjusted their allocations between the troll and the sport fishing fleet increasing opportunity for anglers. And, with the current exchange rate favoring the strength of the U.S. dollar, why not add that card to your hand while developing your fishing strategy in the months ahead.

Trailering a boat to Vancouver Island, or the Gulf Islands from Olympia is not a cake walk in time or expense. However, in my experience, Canada does a great job hosting thousands of Pacific Northwest anglers and the quality of fishing opportunities for salmon, marine fish and shellfish gives anglers an impression that we are welcome in their fisheries.

I warmed up my prawn pots a few weeks ago in Esperanza and Tahsis Inlet on Vancouver Island where the season is open most of the year with a 200 prawns per day limit. Just like home but different.

May 6 is just a few days away as serious prawn fishers should be putting the final touches in becoming gear ready for this annual blast. The tides on the opener are unbelievably fantastic as many of us who dig this fishery finalize our prawning plans. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juan Islands, central and northern Puget Sound, along with Hood Canal look good as the result of test fishing by WDFW shellfish biologists. Even south Puget Sound has a robust population, according to the tests, however, there are ongoing challenges by some south Puget Sound tribes who do not support a sport fishery. Get over it.

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Financial Report: Tips to Help Boost Your Net Worth 
David B. Fitch, Wells Fargo Advisors

Calculating your net worth is a matter of math — add up your cash, investments, property values, life insurance, financial interests in your business, and other assets such as rare collectibles and jewelry. From that total, subtract all debts, including mortgage balance and the amount owed on credit cards and loans. While the calculation itself is simple, its importance goes far beyond.

Jim McKown, Financial Planning Manager in Wells Fargo Advisors’ High Net Worth Planning department, points out that knowing your actual net worth is important not only for your future but also for family and loved ones as it relates to your estate plan and how it affects their future.

So assuming you have all the numbers for the calculation, how do you know what it really means? McKown says an important first step is to work with your Financial Advisor to determine your current situation. Having a clear picture of your net worth now, as well as where it may be in the future, is the starting point before making other decisions, such as beginning a gifting program or establishing a trust fund.

Step one: Analyze your spending
If your goal for the coming year is to improve your overall financial condition, increasing your net worth comes down to two basic choices. “You either save more or spend less,” says McKown, noting that “for many people the latter is the more viable option.”

“The starting point for reducing spending is to determine exactly where you are spending your money and then establish a budget.” Noting that maintaining a household is more expensive today than as recently as 20 years ago, McKown points out that the advances in technology — cell phones, computers, cable TVs, Internet access — add a considerable amount to the average household’s expenses.

He recommends that individuals ask themselves if they need everything they have. Extra spending is especially common among those who are just getting started in their careers and have more disposable income than they’re used to, but McKown’s tips apply to everyone. Shop around to see if you can bundle Internet and TV into one less-expensive package. Consider making more meals at home instead of going out to eat. Analyze plans for your next vacation to make sure you’re making the best use of your money. “Many of us don’t think about where we are spending our money, so understanding that and then setting a budget is a great way to reduce expenditures.”

The first step in establishing a viable budget is to determine fixed costs, such as mortgage, insurance, utilities, and any other regular obligations. Then look at variable costs, such as leisure travel, entertainment, and even splurges, like a new vehicle. “Once you examine these categories carefully, you can get a clear picture of how to start reducing costs”

Step two: Decrease your debts
Once you’ve decreased those variable costs, you can look into ways to decrease the fixed costs as well as get rid of or lower other debts you may have. For many people, the bulk of those come in the form of loans on your assets.

Interest rates continue to be at historic lows. While many homeowners have taken advantage of these rates to refinance their mortgage and free up some monthly cash or pay down their home faster, it may be worth checking to see where you locked in compared to where rates are currently.

Your mortgage isn’t the only place you should try to reduce your interest rate. Consider looking at the rate on any auto loans and refinance if it makes sense. Even unsecured debt, such as what you owe on credit cards, may be able to be reduced through consolidation or refinanced at a lower rate through a personal loan. Talk with a banker to figure out what makes the most sense for your situation.

Step three: Boost your assets
Once you’ve worked on cutting your spending and debt, you may have more money to put toward increasing your assets. Owning a home and building equity has traditionally been one of the most common stepping stones to increasing net worth. Usually, a home is one of the most valuable assets in someone’s portfolio, if not the most valuable asset. But, cautions McKown, in today’s mobile society, where employees are changing jobs and cities frequently, it’s more difficult to build equity.

“Buying a home should never replace saving for retirement. Many of us saw our parents realize sizeable increases in the values of their homes, which may have even outpaced the increase in their investments,” McKown says. “Historically, however, homes have kept up with inflation but have not outpaced it.”

Saving for retirement is something you can do regardless of where you live, and with tax-deferred accounts, the savings may grow even faster. Try to max out your retirement contributions, at least up to any company match. If you put a savings plan into your budget, you’ll be less likely to try to access the money, allowing it to grow over time and thus boosting your net worth. “Resist the temptation during or after a move to spend your 401(k) or IRA funds,” McKown says.

McKown concludes with this advice: Before you can determine where you want to go and what you want to do, know where you stand at the present time. And the starting point for this understanding is to know your net worth.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of David Fitch, Associate Vice President in Bellevue at 425-450-2245.

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We're Going to Extra Innings
Peter Schrappen, NMTA's Vice President & Director of Government Affairs

This is a philosophical question but if the Washington state Legislature goes into “special session” every year (as they have since 2015), is it still “special”? I'm asking because the normal 105-day session was not long enough for lawmakers to agree on the state’s operating budget, plus with a new revenue forecast set for June, the 49 state senators and 98 state representatives find themselves putting off their spring and summer plans while they tend to the people’s business.

All in all, the “boating lobby” has had a successful legislative year thus far. (You hear that? That's me knocking on my fake-wood desk.) It’s always a thril to get a bill passed, and this year, NMTA championed legislation to make it easier for larger vessels to visit Washington state without needing to hire a pilot passed only garnering one “no” vote the entire way. This bill, which is just one of the 330 bills signed into law (of the 2,138 total bills introduced) this session, allows for vessels up to 200 feet and 1,300 gross  tons (the previous amount was 750 gross tons) to go through a Pilotage exemption process. Bigger boats mean big business for communities. To put it another way, while small in number, these vessels sure pack an economic punch. And we want these boats here in the Northwest rather than anywhere else. 

Because much of our work is tied up with the budget, I’m leery of predicting too many other legislative victories. Fortunately for us, your NMTA lobbyist Cliff Webster and I are engaged with any negotiations that would affect our industry. When things wrap up in Olympia, there should be certainty around funding for Career & Technical Education (also known as shop classes). Also, we are keeping a close eye on the boating-friendly policies that drive economic activity like the Recreation Resource Account and protecting the trade-in allowance. Because NMTA has an expert like Tony Floor advising us, I’m going to leave “fish politics” out of this column and let him fill you in.

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “Nothing’s over (with the legislative session) until it’s over”, which means we are standing watch for you so you can focus on running your business. 


Clean Boating Foundation is seeking a dynamic program manager to manage the existing programs within CBF and look for new ways to grow the organization. The Program Manager is a key member of the CBF team and is expected to execute the organization’s goals, especially as it relates to certifying boatyards as clean.

Clean Boating Foundation began in May 2011 and is a growing organization that provides a real niche in Puget Sound’s recovery. We engage boating businesses and boaters with voluntary outreach efforts that showcase practices that will improve water quality. Working with boatyards in particular, this role works on the program that assists boatyards in using voluntary, market-based solutions to help them meet the benchmarks within the Boatyard Permit. We award our seal to those boatyards that are taking the extra-steps to protect Puget Sound. 

If interested, please e-mail Peter Schrappen at peter@nmta.net or call (206) 634-0911.

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Meet Executive Director Mary Anne Ward, Sail Sand Point
By Kurt Hoehne 

Community outreach is one of NTMA’s fundamental functions, and a major step in that direction has been made with the recent membership of Sail Sand Point and Executive Director Mary Anne Ward. 

While many of us are aware of Sail Sand Point, few are aware of the major impact it is having on the boating scene here in Seattle. The community boating center is tucked away at the north end of the Warren G Magnuson Park, formerly the Sand Point Naval Air Station. It features dry storage, a summer chock full of sailing programs for kids and a large boat rental program. 

Sail Sand Point’s huge dry storage area is filled to the brim with small sailboats of all kinds, plus outriggers, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, windsurfers and just about any small boat that doesn’t require an engine. Its little corner of Magnuson is perfect in every way – except visibility.

The lack of visibility comes as no surprise to Ward, who has been on the job two years. “It’s a challenge getting people to know about us and all the things we do.” Ward is bright-eyed and optimistic with seemingly endless energy. In her spare time she crews on a Melges 24.

Ward brings an unrelenting passion to making connections and working all the angles to improve Sail Sand Point’s program. When you talk to Ward, you get the idea she’ll find a way to get things done by making friends along the way, not bowling over people or organizations.

Sail Sand Point was founded by avid sailors, led by Jon and Marcy Edwards, Jamie Stewart and others, relocating resources from a defunct yacht club program at Leschi to the newly-available facility vacated by the Navy. Over the last 19 years SSP has strengthened, even gaining national notoriety. 

Each year more than 8,500 members of the community have access to boating via one of SSP’s programs. (2259 kids, 400 adults, ~6,000 boat rentals)
One area Ward is focusing on is adaptive sailing. In fact, on June 8-9 SSP is teaming with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to introduce anyone with a disability to sailing and rowing.

If you ask Ward right now what’s her biggest ongoing challenge, she’d probably say something along the lines of “getting people to know we’re here.” She’s been making the Rotary Club speaking rounds, few have even heard of SSP. But when she tells the story, they often offer support. After Ward spoke with the University Rotary Club, for instance, they came up with a $3500 grant for adaptive sailing.  

One recognition problem might be the name. Sail Sand Point, though it has a nice ring, doesn’t really tell the story. “It makes it sound like all we do is summer camp for kids,” she says. The truth behind SSP is that it is not just for sailing. 

The marine industry needs Sail Sand Point. Our efforts at outreach need to go beyond boat shows and press releases. This kind of community outreach not only creates new boaters, it also redefines the impression the public at large has of boaters. Imagine the difference it would make to elected officials and corporate sponsors if boating was seen as inclusive and not exclusive. 

Ward is generating some very impressive numbers to show that SSP is in fact a resource for the larger community. Last year’s numbers are impressive. 2259 kids participated. 1167 disadvantaged or at-risk kids participated, and 85% of those came on scholarships. Nearly 3000 people rented boats, and there were 2500 sailboat rentals. There were nearly 4000 paddleboard and kayak uses. A bit more than 2400 volunteer hours were logged. 

Ward’s most pressing current concern is the state of the boathouse. Several experts have declared it rife with lead paint and asbestos from the 1930s. Sail Sand Point took out a $55K loan to abate the parts of the boathouse that the kids use. But the truth of the matter is that the building has to be completely repaired and renovated.
It’s a one to two million-dollar job.

On top of this, the city is not contributing to the process and is only offering SSP a 10-year lease, making investment in that building unreasonable. 

Hopefully, with the help of the marine industry and the community, she’ll be able to engage the city in meaningful cooperation that allows Sail Sand Point to carry on and expand its mission. 

Email Mary Anne Ward at: maward@sailsandpoint.org.

Kurt Hoehne has been in marine publishing since 1984 when he was assistant editor at Sailing Magazine. He’s worked in Seattle’s marine industry as a writer, editor and marketer, and offers marketing services through Meadow Point Publishing. His sailish.com blog covers the Northwest sailing scene. His email is kurt@meadowpointpub.com.

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Health Care Corner: May 2017

How the Changing Health Care Environment is Shifting the Focus Toward You 
While the current administration continues to work through their collective plan for tweaking the Affordable Care Act, the consistent theme from those in charge revolves around the idea of personal savings accounts for healthcare expenses. 

Many folks remember the days of company funded pension plans and the slow transition away from them into individual funded plans, like IRAs and 401K plans. The same thing is happening in health care now with a shift toward Health Savings Accounts or “HSAs”.  While these plans are not new, and in fact most employers have at least looked at them, they may quickly become the norm.  

In the new HSA environment, employees will be responsible for saving money into their own personal accounts to help pay for medical expenses they may incur. And while employers may contribute to these accounts, the ultimate responsibility belongs to the individual. This philosophy is the basis for what is being proposed by the current administration. By providing individual savings accounts and the accompanying tax breaks for on the monies that fund them, the hope is that people will make smart decisions on where to direct their health care dollars. Ultimately, the goal is that with this new found attention to how your health care dollars are spent, consumers will become more savvy and help drive down the costs of health care. 

While this may seem like a huge undertaking, make no mistake this trend is coming. Those who have been setting aside money into 401Ks to prepare for retirement will experience a sense of deja vu as they are once again forced to set aside money on their own, but this time for health care expenses. Be on the lookout for the forthcoming plan from the administration and notice who will be bearing the responsibility of bending the cost curve and saving money, you. 

The NMTA Trust has offered HSA plans for almost a decade and can help you and your employees understand if these plans are right for you. Contact the Trust consultants, Capital Benefit Services at 425-641-8093 or online at capitalbenefitservices.com for more information. 
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