Longtime Marina del Rey resident John “JB” Michael Bowyer, a former president and active member of the Pioneer Skippers Boat Owners Association, died Sunday, September 6th. He was 77.
Bowyer joined the association in 1977 and rose through the ranks of the 900-plus-member nonprofit organization to become president in 1986. He was also influential in the progression of what is now the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, his family said.
Born in England, Bowyer played ice hockey and drove race cars in England and France. He developed a lifelong love of boating while serving in the British Army as a pilot of a landing craft in Singapore. After his first trip to the United States in which he traveled coast to coast by Greyhound bus, Bowyer knew he wanted to make his life there, his family said.
He returned to the U.S. in the 1960s and settled in Southern California, where he worked in the automotive business. After buying his first boat in 1972, he moved to Marina del Rey.
During his time with the Pioneer Skippers Association, he served as chair of the water operations division of the then-Christmas Boat Parade. He worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and Harbor Patrol, the county Sheriff’s Department and county Department of Beaches and Harbors to establish practical parade routes, safety requirements and regulations for the decorated parade vessels.
As Pioneer Skippers’ president, Bowyer’s boating expertise and level-headed approach to fair and equitable resolution of boat owner problems in the growing Marina resulted in a commendation from the county Board of Supervisors, said Willie Hjorth of the Marina del Rey Historical Society. Bowyer was recognized for his dedication to creating a safe and enjoyable environment for boaters at the Marina del Rey small craft harbor.
Bowyer is survived by his son Daniel and many friends in England, Marina del Rey and across the United States.
A celebration of his life is planned for early Wednesday evening, September 23rd at the California Yacht Club, 4469 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey.