NOAA’s Proposed Speed Rule Poses Risks to Coastal Businesses and Boaters

Recreational boating and fishing community stakeholders continue to speak out regarding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s proposed North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Speed Reduction Rule. The proposed rule, while well intentioned, will have an enormous impact on boaters, anglers, and marine businesses up and down the East Coast. Along the Atlantic Coast, 63,000 registered saltwater fishing boats will be impacted, and 340,000 American jobs and nearly $84 billion in economic contributions are in jeopardy.

Under the proposed rule expansion, all boats 35 feet and greater cannot travel faster than 10 knots (about 11 mph) within a vast area extending from Massachusetts to central Florida. This includes areas up to 90 miles offshore, for up to 7 months out of the year in some instances. While crafting the rule, NOAA did not take into account how small recreational boats under 65 feet are designed and used. Recreational boats are not large ocean-going vessels, which are built to move through choppy waters and withstand turbulent weather. Requiring small recreational boats to travel at 10 knots (11 mph) in the open ocean puts boats at greater chance of capsizing or swamping, putting boater safety at risk.

Recently, government officials, small coastal business owners, and the recreational marine community have made their voices heard in media coverage along the Atlantic Coast, including:

Learn more on the proposed rule expansion here or to voice your concerns on NOAA’s proposed rule, visit this section on Boating United to share your feedback with local policy makers via a two-step letter submission process.

If you or your business would be impacted by NOAA’s proposed rule and you are interested in speaking out, please contact Lauren Hyland, public affairs manager at


The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the nation’s leading trade association representing boat, marine engine and accessory manufacturers. Collectively, NMMA members manufacture an estimated 80 percent of marine products used in North America. NMMA is a unifying force and powerful voice for the recreational boating industry, working to strengthen and grow boating and protect the interests of its member companies.