Marine News from the Great Lakes

Ohio Boaters Urged to Join BAO

Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2020
By: Norm Schultz

Perhaps it’s concern that boating budgets may be cut because of Covid-19, or maybe it’s just being seen as good to support their chosen recreation, but boat owners from around Ohio are joining the Boating Associations of Ohio this year.

“In the past, we really haven’t told the BAO story very well,” admits Michelle Burke, executive director. “But the fact is BAO has been quietly and effectively working for all Ohio boating interests, boaters, and the industry for more than 25 years. And, given the unpredictable times we’re living in now, we must stand up and be activists for boating,” she adds.

So, what does BAO do to deserve membership support from the boating community? Here are some of the reasons to join:

  • BAO monitors and addresses every legislative and regulatory proposal that would have any impact—positive or negative—on all Ohioans’ boating lifestyles.
  • BAO staff speaks up for all boating interests at all legislative committee hearings.  
  • BAO scrutinizes the use of all boaters’ registration, titling, and gas tax monies that go into the Waterways Safety Fund.
  • BAO advocates for spending all boaters’ money solely on programs and facilities that directly benefit boaters—a model user-pay, user-benefit system.
  • BAO defends boating whenever it’s threatened by unnecessary regulations or increased taxes.
  • BAO maintains a full-time lobbyist in Columbus to monitor and direct appropriate actions.
  • BAO successfully advocates for the return of federal gasoline taxes paid by all Ohio boaters. These dollars go into the Waterways Safety Fund, too, for boating improvements.

“Yes, we are the BAO staff and we are boat lovers, too,” Burke points out. “That’s why we’re asking boaters to join us as BAO Members. But, there’s more. We’ve made it exciting by adding some exclusive benefits for all BAO individual members.” 

The basic annual Boating Associations of Ohio Membership selected by the majority of boaters is only $50. It includes the membership card, decal, and a branded floating key chain. But the real bonus is that members get exclusive discounts and deals from more than 50 dealers, marinas, and service businesses.

For really passionate boating supporters, there are two higher membership levels: the First Mate Membership at $500 annually, and the annual Captain Membership at $1000. Each of these includes all the basic membership benefits along with additional ones ranging from lifetime VIP boat show passes to attendance at exclusive BAO educational programs.

“Every membership will also receive a subscription to the “OnTheWaterOhio” quarterly newsletter,” said Burke, “which includes stories and subjects about the many faces and places that make for great boating in the Buckeye State.”

Joining BAO is as easy as going to and clicking on membership. 

“So, if you’re thinking, ‘Maybe I should… What can I lose?’ please, do it today. You won’t be disappointed,” Burke promises.  


This article first appeared in the Buyer's Guide 2021 (Nov/Dec 2020) of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Boat Club, Lake Erie, Law & Politics

2021 jan - aug

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