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News Notes – Mid-Atlantic

Zodiac president retires from company

J.J. Marie, longtime president of Zodiac of North America, was toasted by friends and colleagues at the Miami International Boat Show, in anticipation of his retirement at the end of February.

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When he started with the company, Zodiac was a “little rubber boat manufacturer,” Marie told the crowd of more than 50 who gathered in Zodiac’s booth to honor him. “We’ve become an important player in the marine industry.”

Previously the largest Zodiac dealer in the world, with four locations in New England, Marie joined the Zodiac Group in 1984 as president of Zodiac Inflatable Technologies in Toronto. In 1987, he became chairman and CEO of Zodiac Hurricane Technologies in Vancouver, and in March 1990 he was named president of Zodiac of North America.

Marie will serve as chairman of the board. Howard French will be the new president and CEO, Commander (Ret.) Steve Seigel will serve as vice president and general manager of the military and professional division, and Gary Durnan will be vice president of recreational products.

 “J.J. is a very, very, very difficult act to follow,” French told the crowd. “He’s a great mentor and a great friend.”

— Beth Rosenberg

Bay Bridge Boat Show powers forward

The Spring Boat Show at Bay Bridge Marina on Kent Island, Md., will introduce a new Active Outdoor Living section for its 27th year as the boating season kickoff show in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Those who attend the April 23-26 show will also find hundreds of new- and late-model brokerage boats, scores of boat equipment displays, and boat service provider exhibits.

The focus of the Active Outdoor Living section will be on affordable, green small boats including kayaks, canoes, inflatables and accessories.

The show is produced by United States Yacht Shows, Inc. located in Annapolis, Md. For information, visit

Hampton Boat Show cancels April dates

The 13th annual Downtown Hampton In-Water Boat Show was cancelled, a victim of the economy.

The show had been scheduled for April 24-26, according to the Daily Press (Va.).

Last year’s show attracted 32 vendors and distributors, while this year only six vendors and one distributor had signed up, Sherry Spring, executive director of the Downtown Hampton Development Partnership, told the newspaper.

Spring says the event will return next year.

Women’s workshop covers engine service

The National Women’s Sailing Association and Mack Boring Technical Institute in Union, N.J., are offering a two-day workshop for women. The workshop, offered April 4-5, covers the proper methods of performing basic engine service and emergency repairs, in addition to providing time to work on the engines themselves.

The workshop furthers the National Women’s Sailing Association’s goal of providing women with educational opportunities and access to the sport of sailing. The fee is $400 for NWSA members, $445 for non-members. For information, contact Val Cook at (401) 628-2064 or or go to

New season of boat courses for women

Sea Sense, based in Sarasota, Fla., is offering powerboat courses exclusively for women.

The five-day course will take place aboard a 42-footer, and the curriculum includes open-water boat handling, basic engine maintenance, line handling and anchoring. Other topics include close-quarters maneuvering, docking, navigation, and crew-overboard prevention and recovery.

Classes are available from January through June and cost $2,795, which includes instruction, on-board accommodations, all docking and fuel costs, and most meals.

For information, visit

An easy way to save on your boat insurance

Boaters who obtain a boating certificate from the United States Power Squadrons could qualify for substantial discounts on boat insurance. Many states require boat operators to earn the certificate before operating a boat or personal watercraft.

The America’s Boating Course Third Edition is certified by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

Boaters can complete the course online, as a CD-based course or in a classroom setting. All students will receive an extensive full-color book and a self-study, animated and narrated CD.

Contact the United States Power Squadrons at (866) 262-8222 for information or visit

New in-water show in Oriental, N.C.

Pecan Grove Marina in Oriental, N.C., will host The Oriental Boat Show, a new-in water production, slated for April 17-19. The show includes tours of the harbor, visits to a local working fishing boat, and small sailboat and kayak demos. The Oriental Boat Show will feature sail-, power- and paddleboats, plus seminars lead by local experts, as well as entertainment. All proceeds will go to local marine-related charities. Adult admission is $5; children under 18 are free. Show hours are Friday noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information on how to volunteer, exhibit, or to lead a seminar, contact Rob Lucey at (252) 671-2654 or e-mail

NBOA insurance offers online rate quotes

National Boat Owners Association (NBOA Marine Insurance) is launching its new Web site,, which will streamline the quote-request process and provide boat owners with quick-response rates.

The site offers an interactive quote request form containing informative text boxes. Additional features include up-to-date industry and boat owner information, monthly e-newsletter publications, and an online ship’s store offering discounted safety equipment and specialty boating items.

NBOA Marine Insurance is one of the largest specialized insurance agencies in the country.

Annapolis power, sail shows sign deal

The United Sailboat Show and the United States Powerboat Show will be coming to the Annapolis City Dock through 2014. The show recently obtained approval for use of the City Dock and adjacent Susan Campbell Park for the fall in-water boat show.

"We appreciate that the city government and its residents recognize how important the maritime industry is to the economic well-being of the City of Annapolis," says Susan Zellers, executive director of the Marine Trades Association of Maryland.

The shows generate about $50 million annually for the area, says Ed Hartman, president of the U.S. Yacht Shows. For information, visit

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the May 2009 issue.