Skip to main content

Chairman and Founder of BoatUS to Retire on July 1

Richard Schwartz, Chairman and Founder of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS,) has announced his retirement. Schwartz ran BoatUS for 47 years and will leave the association in the hands of BoatUS president Margaret Bonds Podlich.

Richard Schwartz, Chairman and Founder of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS,) has announced his retirement. Schwartz ran BoatUS for 47 years and will leave the association in the hands of BoatUS president Margaret Bonds Podlich. He plans to stay on as Chairman of the BoatUS Board of Directors and Chairman of the BoatUS National Advisory Council.

As Schwartz shoves off into the sea of retirement, the 83-year-old leave his length legacy to continue growing on shore. He was inspired to change the boating industry in the 1960s, after what began as a day of recreational boating with a friend. His friend was issued a ticket for improper engine compartment ventilation, which turned out to be a problem with the boat’s construction. Schwartz was just starting out as an anti-trust attorney but he saw a need for boater legal representation. Hence, BoatUS was born and Schwartz was determined to bolster support in "service, savings and representation” for recreational boaters.

His influence didn't stop there. Created in 1967, the BoatUS Marine Insurance Program provided boat policies for recreational boaters, a first in the industry. The program is based on Schwartz’s translation of boat policy from the then-standard outdated language to clear terms. From that program came Seaworthy, a publication for advice on avoiding claims and injuries. Today, BoatUS has a magazine also, called BoatUS Magazine.

Schwartz helped shape the Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971, which allows the US Coast Guard to penalize boat manufacturers when boats don’t meet certain safety standards. The legislation created the US Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety as well. Throughout the 1970s, Schwartz created the only Consumer Protection Bureau to help boaters seek redress against manufacturers and businesses, including a Dispute Mediation Program.

By the early 1990s, BoatUS expanded to various sectors of the boating world, including a chain of 62 retail stores under the same name. In time, Schwartz formed the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, a nonprofit foundation that provides online boating safety courses and lifejackets for children. In the 1980s, Schwartz added BoatUS Towing Services to the association.

For his crucial contributions to the industy Schwartz won several awards including the Council's Hall of Fame Award (1995); the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators' Annual Award (1983) and Lifetime Achievement Award (1999); the US Coast Guard's Distinguished Public Service Commendation (2000); the US Power Squadron's Raymond A. Finlay Sea Scout Service Award (2005); and the National Marine Manufacturers Association's Charles S. Chapman Award (2006).

Related

Background-02

Notice to Mariners: A Blog from the SAIL Editors

As a teenager, I stumbled across a copy of Derek Lundy’s Godforsaken Sea in the back room of a used bookshop. I had never heard of the Vendée Globe and frankly found all the boat-speak in the first 50 pages a little difficult to get through. But Lundy’s storytelling and the draw ...read more

Screen-Shot-2022-01-13-at-9.26.59-AM2048x

VIDEO: Celestial Navigation Episode 2

Celestial navigation is an invaluable tool for all kinds of sailors. In episode two of the celestial navigation series, learn the basic elements of navigation and the sight reduction process using declination and GHA to determine the Geographic Position and navigate using a ...read more

Film-poster

Cruising: Year of the Sea Shanty

Along with other timeless pursuits, like baking sourdough and gardening, singing sea shanties surged back into popularity during the recent lockdown, thanks, in part, to the app TikTok and its “duet” feature, which allows singers from around the world create music together. By ...read more

Book-Cover-9780712353700

Book Review: Sailor Song

Sailor Song is the ultimate guide to the music of working sailors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The book includes lyrics and sheet music for 50 of the most beloved sea songs with fascinating historical background on the adjoining page. Chapter introductions provide ...read more

Screen Shot 2022-01-12 at 10.42.33 AM

Race Update: RORC Transat

With the fleet leaders about halfway to Grenada, the 2022 RORC Transatlantic is shaking out to be a tactically interesting one. The race, now in its 8th edition, began on Saturday with 30 teams ranging from 70-foot catamarans to a 28-foot JPK 1010. Early in the race, light winds ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_1585

Experience: Fire Down Below

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, local racing had resumed with household crews only. My wife, though, while always up for a pleasure sail, was not up for this kind of thing, so, for the fifth time in what was any measure an unusual sailing season, I found myself singlehanding my ...read more

BestBoats2022-logo

Best Boats 2022

In case you hadn’t heard, the fall 2021 boat show season was one for the record books. If there was ever any doubt the sailing public still enjoys making its way to Newport, Rhode Island, or Annapolis, Maryland, to see the latest in boat design, those doubts were put to rest ...read more

01-LEAD-Dominique-David-2048x

Mulithull Show Coming to La Grande-Motte

After a year without boat shows, 2021 proved to be a blockbuster summer and fall for events around the globe, and the International Mulithull Show is looking to continue that trend in 2022. First held in 2010, the show, which takes place in La Grand-Motte, France, on the shores ...read more