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NMMA Transfers Yacht Design School to ABYC
ABYC to Affiliate with the Westlawn School of Yacht Design


April 29, 2003, Edgewater, MD: The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) are pleased to announce that effective May 1, 2003, NMMA is transferring control of the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology (also the Westlawn School of Yacht Design), to ABYC, which will be assuming the sole membership position in this not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) educational institution, from NMMA.

For many years, NMMA has been Westlawn’s sole corporate member and ardent supporter. For almost a year, NMMA has been in discussions and negotiations with ABYC to determine if Westlawn could be better serve both its student body and the industry at large if it were more closely affiliated with ABYC.

ABYC has been a world marine industry leader in creating and improving basic boating safety standards, and industry-wide education and training programs for nearly 50 years. NMMA and ABYC mutually concluded that Westlawn’s mission “fit” is more closely aligned and in keeping with ABYC’s than that of NMMA’s. It was therefore agreed that NMMA would transfer its sole membership position of Westlawn to ABYC.

Thom Dammrich, President of NMMA said, “Stretching back to 1930, Westlawn has maintained worldwide recognition and a proud tradition of providing quality education opportunities to those in our industry.” “NMMA is privileged to have been affiliated with such an organization as Westlawn for so long, and we feel this transfer to ABYC will position Westlawn to succeed well into the future.” “NMMA is delighted to transfer Westlawn to ABYC, and we believe Westlawn will be better positioned to grow and best serve the industry under the leadership of the ABYC,” Dammrich concluded.

Skip Burdon, ABYC’s President / CEO said, “This is an exciting and positive move for all parties involved – especially the marine industry at large.” Burdon continued, “affiliating with Westlawn is just the first in a series of initiatives ABYC is currently undertaking to better serve the education and professional development needs of the marine industry.” “ABYC is continually developing new and innovative education and training programs, and our affiliation with Westlawn represents ABYC’s commitment to stay at the forefront of that effort,” Burdon concluded.

World recognized yacht designer, author, and Westlawn alumnus, Dave Gerr, has been brought on as the new Director of Westlawn. Gerr stated, “ABYC and Westlawn are planning significant improvements and enhancements to the entire academic program over the next few years. Working closely with ABYC, Westlawn will significantly upgrade and modernize the entire academic program. We also have plans to add more theoretical engineering and practical application course material, offer a number of the courses online, add new industry professional development programs, and reach out to secondary school students potentially interested in pursuing a career within the marine industry. Our immediate charge, however, is to make the transition as fluid, seamless, and easy as possible for our current students, and therefore – administratively - its business as usual,” Gerr concluded.

The mission of Westlawn is twofold: First to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to build a successful career in small boat and yacht design, and second, to support continued growth of the recreational marine industry through the development of various courses and programs to promote and provide educational opportunities for those working – and those intending to work – within the marine industry.

Westlawn’s main operation will remain a separate entity from ABYC, located at its present location in Stamford, Connecticut, until such time when ABYC can transfer Westlawn to ABYC’s headquarters building in Edgewater, Maryland. During this transition, students should continue to work on and send in lessons exactly as they currently are. For now, the Westlawn telephone numbers and email address will remain unchanged.

Visit www.westlawn.org to learn more about Westlawn, www.gerrmarine.com to learn more about Dave Gerr, and www.abycinc.org to learn more about ABYC.

NMMA is a non-profit association with more than 1,400 companies that produce every conceivable product used by recreational boaters. 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. NMMA today provides a wide variety of programs and services tailored to member needs including technical expertise, standards monitoring, government relations avocation, industry statistics, as well as boat shows. For more information on NMMA please visit www.nmma.org.

Nationally accredited and internationally recognized, the Westlawn School of Yacht Design has been producing skilled yacht designers, many of whom have become leaders in the industry, for over 70 years. The school is approved by the Department of Higher Education of the State of Connecticut and nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, which is listed by the US Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Westlawn is also listed as a recognized institution by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) is a not-for-profit organization that has been developing, writing and updating the safety standards for boat building and repair in the United States for nearly 50 years. ABYC is actively involved with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as well as certification programs for marine technicians. These standards are available on CD-ROM and in printed form. For more information on this transfer, you may call ABYC at (410) 956-1050. Membership and general information can be requested by also calling (410) 956-1050 or by visiting the ABYC Web Site at www.abycinc.org.