I’ve been looking at new boats and have noticed a decal on some of them like the one seen here. Is this just a bunch of marketing hype or does it actually mean something?nmma-cert-decal

But does this mean the boat complies with all of the ABYC Standards? Well, no.

Not all of the ABYC Standards are included in the inspection program. But since the program started, NMMA has continually added to the number of standards included. Boat buyers can rest assured that the most important standards are included in the inspection list. View the complete list of 2011 NMMA Certification requirements

Not every boat is inspected. When a builder comes out with a new model, s/he can contact NMMA and arrange for a trained inspector to check out the new boat. The inspector goes through a very lengthy list of items in each of the identified Standard areas. Often this inspection will identify areas that the builder must correct to bring the model into compliance before it can be certified. Once this has been accomplished, then all of the subsequent boats of that model will also be certified.

Which leads to the obvious question: Does the certification give me a better boat?

The answer is an unequivocal YES. Its hard to put an exact number on it, but I can assure you that a boat built to ABYC Standards is going to have fewer warranty problems and is surely going to be more trouble-free over the long haul. On top of that boats built to ABYC Standard are going to hold their value better than other boats because on resale, one of the things that marine surveyors and insurance companies look for is compliance with ABYC Standards.

The bottom line? Boats with the "NMMA Certified" sticker on them are going to be better built.


Written by: Ed Sherman
Ed Sherman is a regular contributor to boats.com, as well as to Professional Boatbuilder and Cruising World, where he previously was electronics editor. He also is the curriculum director for the American Boat and Yacht Council. Previously, Ed was chairman of the Marine Technology Department at the New England Institute of Technology. Ed’s blog posts appear courtesy of his website, EdsBoatTips.