I attended the National Marine Manufacturers Association annual American Boating Congress held in Washington DC a couple weeks ago. The event drew 225 people from boat related businesses together to attend legislative seminars and visit members of Congress from their home states and districts.
This was my first time attending the event and it won’t be the last. For those of us who’s livelihood is dependent upon the recreational boating industry, it provided a great opportunity to get educated on the most pressing issues facing the industry and boating population at large and then take those issues to the Hill.
For those of us who take to the water, boating represents freedom, relaxation and camaraderie with family and friends. Not that we think of it when we’re out on our boat (for good reason!), but boating is also an enormous economic engine for the country. That’s the most important message we took to our elected members of government.
I met with Rep Moran’s (D-VA) legislative director and also with a couple of professional staff members in Sen Warner’s (D-VA) office. Besides the economic impact message I also took the opportunity to describe why addition of higher ethanol blended fuel (E-15) into recreational boats is such a bad idea. I also pressed the importance of keeping the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund alive and healthy because of its great value to anglers and boaters across the country. For more info on these issues check out this page at BoatUS. if you are a boater you owe it to yourself to get involved and carry your message forward.
Keeping Congress aware of the value of boating is important. Supportive tax and business policies and legislation that looks out for boaters’ interests are key to keeping the industry healthy, which in turn means better products and services for boaters.