U.S. Recreational Boating Industry Gathers in Washington, D.C.
Employees from across all sectors of the U.S. recreational boating industry are gathering on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC today and tomorrow for the annual American Boating Congress (ABC) to advocate on behalf of the industry’s 350,000 workers and 82 million boaters.
With the unofficial start to boating season just under a month away on Memorial Day weekend, ABC gives members of the U.S. recreational boating industry a timely platform to meet with legislators and other decision makers on Capitol Hill, hear from prominent economic and political speakers and participate all while meeting with colleagues from around the country. During the two-day event industry stakeholders will communicate on Capitol Hill the significance of our industry’s $72 billion annual economic impact on the U.S. economy, Americans’ longstanding appreciation for U.S. waterways, and some of the priority issues facing recreational boating.
Segments of the industry attending ABC include boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers, boat dealers, distributors and retailers, marine lenders and banks, members of the fishing industry, marinas, trade organizations, government groups, publishers from marine industry media, and boat owners.
“Whether it’s that boating is a uniquely American manufacturing industry with 83 percent of boats sold in the U.S., made in the U.S. or that three out of four boat owners having an annual household income less than $100,000 – we have an important story to tell,” notes Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), one of 31 co-host organizations for ABC. “Sharing our story on Capitol Hill during ABC is a critical element of our industry’s advocacy efforts and will go a long way toward an accurate understanding of the middle-class Americans who make up recreational boating and the positive impact we have across the country.”
While meeting with policy makers, ABC attendees will also address some of the more pressing issues facing boaters and the U.S. boating industry including oral arguments recently heard by a panel of three judges of U.S. Court of Appeals on NMMA’s challenge to the EPA Waiver allowing the sale of E15, as well as a new strategic partnership between NMMA and the commerce department, encouraging import/export initiatives.
Prominent speakers addressing areas of interest for the U.S. recreational boating industry include:
Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI): Currently serving his eighth term as a Member of Congress, Rep. Ryan is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he works to bring fiscal discipline and accountability to the federal government. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, Social Security, health care and trade laws.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV): Sen. Manchin joined Congress in 2010, having previously served as Secretary of State from 2000 to 2004. In 2005 he began his six years as Governor for the state of West Virginia. Legislatively, job creation is Sen. Manchin’s top priority, working to produce American jobs and encouraging the government to act as a partner to help create opportunity.
Deerin Babb-Brott, Director, National Ocean Council Office: A White House initiative, the National Ocean Council provides sustained, high-level, and coordinated attention to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes issues and focuses on actions to advance the National Ocean Policy. Deerin Babb-Brott brings more than twenty years of experience developing innovative and successful solutions to management challenges in the coastal and marine environment, with expertise in government affairs and marine policy.
Rear Admiral Dean Lee, United States Coast Guard: Rear Admiral William “Dean” Lee reported to Coast Guard Headquarters to be the Deputy for Operations Policy and Capabilities (DCO-D) in May of 2012, following his assignment as the Fifth District Commander in Portsmouth, VA. As DCO-D, he oversees integration of operations, capability, strategy, and resource policy. Rear Admiral Lee has spent 13 years in six different Command assignments, including Fifth District and spent a career specializing in Boat Operations and Search and Rescue.
Kenneth Walsh, White House Correspondent, U.S. News and World Report: Ken Walsh, having covered the White House full-time for U.S. News and World Report since 1986, is one of the most experienced and longest-serving reporters ever to cover the presidency. With an extensive contact list of Washington insiders, Walsh has both historical and contemporary perspective on events. Historian Douglas Brinkley has written of Walsh, "No journalist today covers U.S. presidential politics with the same bedrock self-assurance, analytical thought and literary aplomb as Ken Walsh."
Frank Peterson, President, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation: The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to growing participation in fishing, boating and aquatic stewardship. Peterson joined the RBFF team in 2007 to serve as President and CEO, with more than 20 years of industry experience and advocacy.
ABC would not be possible without generous support from sponsors: Admiral's Level: Yamaha Marine,Yamaha Watercraft, Brunswick | Captain's Level: Bombardier – Evinrude and Sea Doo, Indmar | Frist Mate's Level: Center for Coastal Conservation, ILMOR Engineering, Inc., Dometic, Tracker Marine Group, Volvo Penta, Cobalt Boats, Sea Tow | Purser's Level: ARI, Caterpillar, Marine Concepts, Omni Risk Management Inc.
This year's co-hosts are an integral part of planning ABC, contributing time to program development and encouraging their members to attend and participate in ABC. They include the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association, Association of Marina Industries, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, BoatU.S. Boating Industry Magazine, Boy Scouts/Sea Scouts, Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston, Center for Coastal Conservation, CT Marine Trades Association, Florida Yacht Brokers Association, Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, , Marina Recreation Association, Michigan Boating Industries Association, Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, Inc., Marine Retailers Association of America, Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, National Boating Federation, National Marine Bankers Association, National Marine Distributors Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Northwest Marine Trade Association, National Marine Trade Council, North Central Marine Association, RI Marine Trades Association, South Carolina Marine Association, States Organization for Boating Access, Soundings Trade Only, U.S. Superyacht Association, Wisconsin Marine Association, Water Sports Industry Association, Yacht Brokers Association of America