By Carina Livoti
The Greater Huntington Council of Yacht and Boating Clubs celebrates three decades of fighting for rights of the boating community this year. The council has been encouraging boating, promoting safety, and supporting marine safety and environmental issues since 1985.
According to the council’s commodore, Jackie Martin, the group started after issues surfaced that affected the yacht clubs in the Huntington Harbor area.
“There seemed to be a little bit of concern over mooring and filed issues and who had the right to drop moorings and where they could be dropped,” she said.
Martin said that local municipalities and local clubs had a few meetings prior to the council’s formal inception; then the clubs earnestly tried to form an organization that could represent them on a government level.
Since then, the council has worked largely as a political advocate for the boating community, negotiating anything members need, from land leases to safety and environmental legislation. Martin said that another part of it is making sure that all entities involved work toward a common goal and understand what everyone involved is doing.
Past commodore and long-time member Jon L. Ten Haagen said that part of the council’s ability to successfully impact local policy has come from its growth in membership.
“With the growth became power; we now say we have over 4,500 boating families we represent, so when we go to an elected official, it’s given us a presence politically,” he said.
Martin agreed, saying that the council has already fulfilled the mission set out in its bylaws. The council successfully promotes safety through “Huntington Safe Boating Week,” which has garnered them additional recognition and attention. She listed the extension of maritime patrol past Labor Day and the “pump-out boat” past Columbus Day among the its other recent accomplishments.
The “pump-out boat” is a mobile marine sanitation boat that comes alongside your boat and empties your holding tank. Without the pump-out boat, boaters have to travel to a pump-out station, as marine sanitation laws do not allow boaters to empty their holding tanks into the water.
In addition to lobbying and advocacy, the council organizes programs and events, including meet-and-greet sessions with local politicians and hosts an annual Meet The Commodores event in May, which is a great networking event for all boaters, according to Martin. Members are also entitled to discounts at various local businesses.
For more information, visit huntingtonboatingcouncil.org.