Grow Boating plans to host a fundraiser prior to next year's Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show to raise money for the Grow Boating PAC.
That's according to Michele Goldsmith, marketing and sales manager for Mastervolt, Marinco and Actuant Corp., who spoke at the National Marine Manufacturers Association industry breakfast at the opening today of the Miami show.
"If we do this right it will be the largest fundraiser the industry has ever done for itself," Goldsmith said.
The event is slated for Feb. 12, 2014.
NMMA president Thom Dammrich reiterated the push on Capitol Hill, underscoring the need for all components of the industry to work together in efforts to support policies that benefit boating as a whole.
The group is currently working in the courts and on Capitol Hill on repealing or amending the allowance of E15 into the marketplace.
It is also working on issues that include revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act to provide more access and days on the water to saltwater fishing, Dammrich said. It is also doing tri-fuel testing of an ethanol, gasoline and butynol mixture to determine the impact on marine engines.
"We now have 28 marine industry associations and marina industry associations that are helping in our effort on Capitol Hill May 8 and 9 at the American Boating Congress,” Dammrich said.
The NMMA is also working with the Association of Marina Industries to help promote a National Marina Day (www.nationalmarinaday.org) on June 8.
"Our goal is to get people out on the water and actually provide some hands-on training," Dammrich told the group. "It's a very aggressive goal to teach one boating skill to at least 10,000 people."
Dammrich continued to emphasize the gains boating made in 2012.
"One out of every five dollars consumers spent on outdoor activities was spent on boating and fishing," Dammrich said. "Americans spent nearly 3 billion hours on the water last year."
If the industry grows another 10 percent in 2013 on top of the 10 percent it grew in 2012, it will be up to 170,000 units, Dammrich said.
Boats in all sizes and price ranges are doing well, though there is continued weakness in the cruiser market, albeit with some bright spots, Dammrich said.
"We need to unite the industry more strongly in terms of advocacy," Dammrich said.
"Discover Boating is now the top Facebook boating page, with more than 530,000 fans," Dammrich said. "Online ads have outperformed industry standards by 16 percent."
Diversity is another area the NMMA is focused on. There are 15 million nonwhite households earning more than $50,000 a year, and 37 percent of those have incomes above $100,000 a year, Dammrich said.
"If we could get just 1 percent of those into boating it would account for 60,000 boats," he said. "If we could get 1 percent of all the households earning above $50,000 we could get 150,000 more boats. We could double the size of our industry. We're reaching out to a more diverse audience. It's not only an economic opportunity. It's an economic imperative."
— Reagan Haynes