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Association of Marina Industries: Educators of Marina Experts

The Association of Marina Industries (AMI) has a strong commitment to the needs and well-being of the global marina industry. Catering to over 1200 businesses, members include boatyards, yacht clubs, public/private moorage basins, partner associations and marine industry vendors, placing education and networking as a top priority. Therefore, although predominantly operating around the United States, it has a strong membership across the world.  

As a non-profit organisation, its sole purpose is to serve the needs of its members. More specifically, it works to bring companies together so that there is an active forum for education and growth. This is most aptly demonstrated by AMI’s Training Institute, which has built a fantastic reputation for the training and certification of marina industry professionals. The institute offers a wide range of benefits for its members, including the globally recognised Certified Marina Manager (CMM) and Certified Marina Operator (CMO) programs and specialised conferences. By obtaining such qualifications, members can demonstrate a deep understanding of the marina industry, as well as enjoy numerous discounted services, industry publications, and legal guidance for any grievance.  

Members in the U.S. have further access to brilliant services across the States. Specifically, they have access to forward-thinking and cost-saving business solutions, educational services, updated news, and the latest findings from ground-breaking research. Therefore, AMI is a guiding light in all related legislative issues. Further benefits are also witnessed in the Training Institute, as training is exclusively provided directly to U.S. members, rather than being distributed by partnerships, as is the case for international members.  

AMI was formed from the amalgamation of two dominant associations; Marina Operators Association of America (MOAA) and the International Marina Institute (IMI). Although the merge occurred in 2005, the first sparks of AMI occurred in 1992, when a small group of marina industry owners formed MOAA. Significantly, MOAA was born out of a need for a greater advocate in the domestic legislative and regulatory agenda. The Association placed effort into working more in the marina’s interests, in a fair and responsible way. Despite having over a thousand members today, the initial membership consisted of high-end marina managers and owners, exclusively in the U.S.  

Nearly ten years later, MOAA had the opportunity of accepting direct sponsorship and support from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). This was a major turning point as it enabled MOAA to curate a healthy domestic profile that was held by major executives in the industry. Moreover, it facilitated a network of strength that was effectively able to combat state and federal issues that were causing great disturbances to the Marina industry. From this initial inkling, it became clear that a proactive voice for change was needed if the industry was going to develop at all, including the building of relationships with national and state organisations to create a tight network.  

On the other end, IMI was formed in the mid-1980s, which brings to the helm the educational aspects of AMI. The institute was founded to encourage education, training, and certification. Consequently, IMI did just that, as they successfully established and developed numerous management schools, including the highly regarded Certified Marina Manager (CMM) program. Similar to MOAA, the founding members of IMI were deeply passionate about the marina industry’s consistent development, as the institution strived to educate members to overcome the complex and technical challenges of the day. IMI also has an impressive portfolio of research and academic published papers. What is great about this particular aspect is the joining together of marina operators, industry consultants, academics, technical experts and governments, that tightly worked together to create an educational network. Accordingly, members could be more prepared to confront the multifaceted issues of the industry.  

In 2005, a magnanimous decision was made to join together IMI and MOAA to form a proactive association. Although there were many reasons for the merge, they predominantly wanted to increase active US membership and gather the appeal of consolidating business services; ultimately bringing together the wealth and experience of two strong associations to form the ultimate space for marina membership.  

If you were to take a cross-section of AMI, you would find a wide range of marinas, from family-run businesses to large corporations that have become titans of the industry. As suggested by the name, Marina companies comprise 77% of the membership. Whilst this does make up a large majority, industry suppliers and honorary partnerships also comprise 15%. Furthermore, the demographic of their membership is spread across corporate chains, privately owned enterprises, and affiliate partnerships with local state trade associations. A recent example of this would be the joining of Alaska Association of Harbourmasters and Port Administrators, which continue to provide a wealth of knowledge to the Association, due to the affiliate partnerships with many trade organisations across the world.  

Marinas that are members of AMI offer a wide range of services and expertise, thanks to the guidance and support of the Association. Significantly, 410 marinas, (almost half of the total membership) offer boat repair services to any who stops by. Additionally, 296 marina members conduct new boat sales on their properties, with another 40 possessing boat-building facilities onsite. Thus, each marina garners the advice provided by AMI, as they help an excess of 1200 businesses make a key difference in the marina industry.  

With over 1 million boaters gaining access annually through AMI’s member marinas, they have to cater to a wide selection of businesses and entities. Typically, many boating and logistics associations solely focus on legal issues. And yet, thanks to the joint expertise from which AMI was founded, they have a great passion for the education of their members, exampled by the diligent and highly comprehensive AMI Training Institute, which subsequently provides invaluable certifications. Thus, there is a vast range of benefits to be gained from being part of AMI, as an indispensable network of passionate leaders and hard workers.