As ISMA grows, one of the issues we face is protecting the interests of smaller member countries, and thereby maintaining our commitment to inclusiveness.
Our smaller member countries would be given a greater voice in ISMA affairs with the adoption of double majority voting. Under the current ISMA system, each of the seven National Associations (including Spain, just admitted this year) are entitled to cast one vote per qualifying member yacht in their Association. Qualifying member yachts are those for which the owner has paid dues in the preceding year (individual members may attend the General Meeting, but they are not entitled to vote).
Under the current rules, there are a total of 124 votes, with North America, Finland and Switzerland each casting the largest number of votes -- 24 to 30 each. Countries like Sweden, Germany and now Spain – each with only 5 or 6 votes -- have little to no influence, even if they vote together as a block, and even if they face opposition from just one of the larger Associations.
Given this predicament, should ISMA put forward a motion that would require a double majority for voting on all issues?
This means that each country would retain its current number of votes but that a majority of member countries would also be required for motions to pass. In other words a smaller country would have more or less have equal voice to as a larger country. This would be a big step and demonstrate ISMA’s commitment to inclusiveness, encouraging additional countries to join the International Association no matter what size their fleet.
If you have an opinion, please send it to Tim Russell, our Executive Secretary.