By the mid 1960's boating was growing by tremendous rates in the Anchor Bay/Lake St. Clair area.
Problems of all sorts were developing that related to boating and boaters.
Donald Green, who had just completed his term as Commodore of North Star Sail Club had seen the interaction of the Detroit River Yachting Association and the positive impact on the sailing fraternities from such a large area. He asked, why couldn't the same thing be done on a smaller scale for the Anchor Bay area. He contacted several friends and outlined his idea. The response was immediate and positive.
There were initially 7clubs in the Anchor Bay area who were interested in such an association.
The first meetings were held at North Star Sailing Club on November 21, 1966. The second meeting on January 9, 1967, and a few new clubs were added to the original group. A charter, which was drawn up and presented to the membership, was passed by all clubs and the Anchor Bay Yachting Association was registered as an association in Macomb County on February 13, 1967. The charter members were:
Bayside Yacht Club
Belvidere Boat Club
Chrysler Yacht Club (now North Channel Yacht Club)
Clinton River Boat Club
Conger Bay Boat Club
Huron Pointe Yacht Club
North Star Sail Club
Poor Man's Yacht Club
Sand Pointe Yacht Club
At the February meeting, Donald Green was appointed the first Commodore. There was a tie vote for Vice Commodore between Nick Roman and Frank Richey and a coin was flipped to determine Frank Richey the winner. Andy Haller was nominated for Secretary/Treasurer. Ed Menninger was appointed Secretary/Treasurer and he also presented a burgee which he had designed and the group accepted it as the official burgee for ABYA and is still in use today. The dues for that first year were $25.00 for each club and the beginning bank account was $175.00. The first social event was held on December 3, 1968 at Huron Pointe Yacht Club with tickets priced to just cover the cost. The jukebox was to be used for dancing.
As the Association took on more responsibility and became involved in more activities additional officers were needed to help with the work.
In June, 1967, the Secretary/Treasurer's office was split into two separate offices.
On February 6, 1970 Kenny Pearce was named the first Rear Commodore.
On October 5, 1981, the office of Fleet Captain was added.
Bylaws were rewritten on April 30, 1971 and again in August 1988 to reflect updated changes.
ABYA established the Past Commodore's Club in 1971. Any Past Commodore of a member club is eligible to join. Although the Past Commodores Club was established by a group from the ABYA. The group decided to join ABYA as a club and was approved on October 7, 1985.
All immediate Past Commodores of ABYA clubs are considered delegates and may attend meetings and vote on all matters coming before the membership. At the general membership meetings, a speaker is usually invited to discuss various issues of interest to the boating community. Topics which have been addressed in the past include safety issues, DNR concerns relative to the Great Lakes and other waterways, fishing laws, no wake laws, placement of buoys, as well as proposed legislation which may effect pleasure boaters.
The primary aim of the association was and still is the promotion of camaraderie and fellowship between the member boat clubs and also to for a liaison with government units. Its purpose can best be described by quoting from Article II of its constitution:
"Promote recreational safety with the goal of reducing accidents, bodily injuries and property damage."
The new organization received excellent press coverage in those early days and there was almost an immediate recognition of the importance of ABYA as a moving force representing boaters in Lake St. Clair.
Various government agencies: Coast Guard, Waterways Commission, Corps of Engineers, Macomb County Officials, Metropolitan Beach Authority, interested lake front home owners groups and the Press ... all started to contact ABYA for it's input and dissemination of information.
The ideas which had caused ABYA to organize were proven almost immediately as valid needs and goals of the member clubs. The organization was not only reactive, but pro-active, pushing for dredging of the waterways, new aids to navigation, clean up of pollution, and improvement of various recreational activities within Lake St. Clair.
Commodore Don Green became very active in bringing together the Corps of Engineers, Waterway Commission, Congressman James O'Hara, and Harrison Township Board to implement the plan that resulted in the dredging of the Clinton River and the construction of the harbor entrance at the mouth of the Clinton River. This single project took three years of meetings and planning before work started.
Realizing that Gull Island (a haven for power boaters) was littered with broken glass, metal cans and other debris, the association organized a major cleanup, with all the debris being carted away and disposed of.
ABYA was instrumental in providing a large number of workers for the original Clinton River Cleanup.
This is still an ongoing project.
ABYA Petitioned and worked with the Coast Guard to place markers in
North Channel earlier in the spring for early navigation.
Also helping to relocate Pointe Huron Buoy #1 to 297-1/2 degrees bearing to Pointe Huron.
This made it easier to pick up the range markers at Metro Beach.
The initiation of club letters were sent to the Michigan legislature to get help with sandbagging during flooding.
ABYA clubs organized a town meeting, with the DNR invited, for the purpose of guaranteeing the placement of pump out stations at convenient locations.
ABYA installed a flagpole for Macomb County Sheriff's Marine Division at Harley Ensign Launch at end of South River Rd.
The Association helped Conger Bay Boat Club to establish its claim to the property which it had purchased in good faith. This was one time when the wishes of the DNR were reversed 180 degrees.
Located the submerged 'Glacier Rock' off Belle Maer Harbor. This was reported to the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the DNR and as a result is now shown on navigation charts and marked on location.
Contributed towards building of a lookout tower and light for Marine Division at Harley Ensign Park launch and also purchased and donated RFD (radio directional finder) for the marine division.
Purchased and donated radar unit for Macomb County Sheriff's Dept.
(Each member club donated $100.00 towards this project.)
Purchased and donated depth an on board depth finder for St. Clair Sheriff's Dept.
(Each member club donated $40.00 toward the project.)
Purchased four "no wake" buoys for entrance to Metro Beach. Convinced Marine Patrol to maintain buoys at Clinton River. Metro Beach Authority maintains the boys at Black Creek.
Donated $100 (on a continuous basis) toward the maitainance of "no wake" buoys for entrance to Salt River.
Replaced windshield and side windows in boat donated to Macomb County Sheriff's Dept.
Donated $200 toward the preservation of Save Our South Channel lighthouses.
Purchased "no wake" buoys for entrance to ClintonRiver.
Reproduced and distributed 5000 sheets of a colored charts indicating the no wake areas in the St. Clair River. Replaced damaged no wake bouys at the mouth of the Clinton River (2) and at Metro Beach (2).
To be continued....