ACMA to meet at MDCE; Houston show announces 2019 plans

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Members of the Advisory Council of Marine Associations will gather in Orlando for their annual meeting, while the Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show has announced plans for its January 4–13 run at NRG Center.

First, leaders from state and regional marine trade associations around the country are slated to hold their ACMA meeting on December 10 in the Orlando Convention Center. ACMA provides vital federal and state legislative and regulatory policy direction to the board of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. This meeting is traditionally held in conjunction with the Marine Dealer Conference and Expo which runs December 9-12 this year.

“Given the election results, the current lame-duck Congressional session and the anticipated changes coming out in the new Congress, there’s bound to be a call to action on a wide range of issues at this ACMA meeting,” predicts ACMA chairperson Kathleen Burns, executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association. “Everything from legislation we want as an industry, like the Modern Fish Act or additional tax reform, to issues concerning workforce development and the effects of tariffs on retailers will likely be on the table.”

Finally, the state and regional MTAs will report on state election ramifications, related legislative and regulatory issues and their impacts, particularly issues which could trigger similar concerns in other states.

All eyes on Houston

“It’s a Texas Tradition!” will be the theme of the Houston Boat Show and, indeed, being the industry’s first major boat show to open our 2019 winter show season, it really has become an industry tradition to watch Texas for early signals.

From wall to wall, the Houston show consumes all 700,000 square feet of NRG Center, ranking it among the largest shows in the industry. While dominated by boat exhibits, the event is also a sports show with a heavy emphasis on fishing. But it also includes travel trailers and related equipment.

Headlining the attractions list this year will be the “Extreme Raptors Show.” It is the largest traveling collection of birds of prey in the nation. Jonathan Wood, master falconer and wildlife rehabilitator, along with his wife and daughter, present both an entertaining and educational show featuring rehabilitated raptors saved from being euthanized at crowded wildlife centers across the country. “They now serve as ambassadors for their species and the environments they inhabit,” explains Wood.

Meanwhile, it’s hands-on at Fish-O-Rama where kids to catch rainbow trout. Keeping in the hands-on mode, a special kids section will include a “Radical Indoor Bungee Jumping” facility along with a 24-foot Inflatable Slide. On Saturdays and Sundays, kids will also be invited to participate in a special feature dubbed “Build-A-Boat” in which they’ll construct an 8-foot wooden dinghy and learn to build a boat motor.

In previous years, Houston has been a strong indicator of what our other major market winter boat shows will be like. A 10-day schedule makes Houston one of the industry’s longest shows.

“Given the overall sales success we’ve had in Texas this past year, we are expecting that momentum to carry into this year’s event,” says Ken Lovell, executive director of the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston, which produces the show.

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