NMMA Certification

NMMA is dedicated to creating, promoting and protecting an environment where members can achieve financial success through excellence in manufacturing, in selling, and in servicing their customers...

To fulfill this mission, NMMA will devote its resources to:

  • Public policy advocacy
  • Marketing
  • Quality Assurance
  • Resources & Data

Programs and Services

NMMA today provides a wide variety of programs and services tailored to member needs: technical expertise, standards monitoring, government relations avocation, industry statistics and more.

Boat shows have become the industry's premier marketing tool; NMMA produces shows in key North American markets to provide quality showplaces for exhibitors and consumers.

To bring retailers and wholesalers together with American and international marine manufacturers, NMMA stages two extraordinary trade shows, IBEX and the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS), each fall. NMMA is also active internationally with world marine trade organizations to promote and protect the sport of recreational boating.

When you're out on the water, NMMA's commitment to safety makes a big difference. With a certified boat, we believe you can be assured of the quality of the safety features of your craft — inside and out. After all, on the outside, most boats look similar with shiny hulls, bright colors, and fancy upholstery. But it's hard to get a good look at the critical components inside, like the fuel system, electrical systems, steering, flotation and ventilation.

Many — but not all — boats are required to meet a set of minimum manufacturing regulations established by the U.S. Coast Guard. The manufacturers of the majority of the nation's recreational boats don't think these minimum requirements are good enough, and they don't think consumers should be satisfied with them either. That's why they participate in the more stringent NMMA Certification Program.

NMMA verifies annually, or whenever a new product is introduced, boat model to determine that they satisfy not only the minimum U.S. Coast Guard Regulations but also the more rigorous standards based on those established by the American Boat & Yacht Council. So just look for the NMMA certification verification on the capacity label. The accompanying chart compares the U.S. Coast Guard Regulations to the higher standards used by NMMA to inspect and certify boats.

Boat Certification Program

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has developed certification programs to help manufacturers comply with established standards and safety regulations, and to help to inform the public of such compliance when purchasing equipment. The NMMA program certifies that the design meets the standards outlined in the NMMA Certification Handbook. The manufacturer has the responsibility of assuring that production units are manufactured in compliance with the certified design.

Both the administrative and technical details of these programs (formerly BIA certifications) are incorporated in the handbook. The boat standards used are based on Standards and Recommended Practices for Small Craft published by the:

National Marine Manufacturers Association

American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC)
3069 Solomons Island Road
Edgewater, MD 21037

The standards used in NMMA Certification Programs are subject to change in accordance with Federal Standards if they change during the model year indicated in the title for which these requirements apply.

In 1968, BIA inaugurated a certification program for boat manufacturers covering horsepower and load capacity, flotation, steering and fuel systems, compartment ventilation, navigation lights and backfire flame control.

A manufacturer participating in this program must certify all models under 26 feet in length (except boats built and advertised as intended for racing) as fitted with all factory supplied equipment on a model year basis. BIA's thirty year old boat capacity rating program is incorporated into certification covering load and horsepower capacity and flotation.

Inspectors from nationally recognized independent inspection agencies or NMMA staff visit the manufacturer, check for the NMMA capacity and flotation ratings, and physically inspect each model for compliance with all boat certification standards contained in the handbook.

Builders desiring to participate in this program should contact NMMA for capacity and flotation rating applications and a Certification application.

Different capacity applications are used for different types of boats as follows:

  1. Outboard and Non-Powered boats (includes canoes and sailboats)
  2. Inboard, I/O and Sea Drive boats
  3. Pontoon boats
  4. Inflatable boats (includes sailboards)
An Optional "John" boat capacity is available for those not wishing to use the regular outboard capacity application.

All boat types use the same Boat Certification Application. The level flotation test report form is provided to report the results of level flotation testing. The Capacity and Certification applications must be forwarded to NMMA with a requested inspection date. If 20 days notice is given, the requested date can usually be met by the inspector.

After resolution of any variances the inspector may find each model will be certified.

Exemptions to Federal standards issued by the U.S. Coast Guard are accepted in this certification program.

New models must be inspected and certified prior to shipment.

List of all boat manufacturers in the NMMA Boat Certification Program

Information Courtesy of National Marine Manufacturers Association