The British Marine Electrical and Electronics Association is a trade organisation that represents installers and manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment such as radars, GPS receivers, radios, navigation aids and battery chargers specifically for marine use. The BMEEA is a group association of the British Marine Federation (BMF). There are many aspects to the work of the Association. Representing the interests of members and promoting high standards of professionalism in terms of products, services and workmanship are key objectives. In tangible terms, the Association produces a Code of Practice for the installation of equipment, is responsible for the BMET and MEI/AMEI skills accreditation scheme and delivers technical services, including advice and guidance, to the industry and consumers.
The BMEEA holds an annual Conference for its members that features some of the very best speakers from inside and outside the industry. Also held at the Conference are the BMEEA awards for ‘Best Product of the Year’, Waterside Dealer of the Year’ and Best Newly Certificated Engineer of the Year.
Number one in the Association’s list of aims and objectives is to provide boat owners with a guaranteed level of quality service and support around the UK coast.
To that end, it has instituted a Code of Practice that requires its members to treat customers with courtesy and their boats with respect, to recommend and supply only equipment that is suitable for the marine environment, and to work to recognised Standards that ensure every installation is as safe and reliable as possible.
Perhaps, thirty years ago, such safeguards were almost unnecessary. Marine electronics – at least on pleasure craft – was in its infancy. A typical yacht’s fit out probably included an echo sounder and possibly a radio direction finder, but that was about it. GPS and chart plotters were unheard of, radar was rare and an expensive luxury, and logs were mainly mechanical.
The electronics revolution has given owners access to a bewildering array of evermore sophisticated equipment. It undoubtedly improves the performance of their boats, increases the pleasure they provide, and enhances the safety and convenience of life on board – so long as the individual products are right for that particular job and have been properly installed.
That’s quite a big ‘if’, however, because modern electronics depend on very sensitive radio receivers and digital data handling circuits. They have to amplify and process the very weakest of signals whilst at the same time being able to cope with radio and electrical interference from the engine’s charging system, from domestic services such as fridges and fluorescent lights, and, increasingly from other electrical equipment. There’s no room in this high tech environment for botched, careless, or badly thought-out installations, or for materials which corrode or fatigue when they are exposed to water, sunlight, or repeated movement.
That’s what the BMEEA is really about: despite its name, it is more than just a trade association, it is committed to providing you – our customers – with the best products, sound advice and professional service at fair prices.