Be the squeaky wheel


The 2009 American Boating Congress is over, but that doesn’t mean the mission is accomplished.

Lobbying for the interests of your business and the marine industry in general is a year-round job. Just ask the staff at the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The Washington, D.C., staff members are good at getting the industry’s message to key policy makers, but they’ll be the first to tell you that the message is better received when it comes directly from a constituent.

For ABC attendees thinking they have done their part, there is more you can do. And for those who were unable to attend because of budget constraints or any other reason, you can still step up to the plate.

“With the stroke of a pen we can be legislated out of business,” NMMA board chairman David Slikkers told ABC attendees Wednesday. “The most effective thing you can do today is make your voice heard, but not just today — every day you do business.”

He said the first step is to establish a relationship with your representatives. Call them and arrange a meeting at their home office, or invite them on a tour of your facility to see what you do and to meet your employees. Put a name and a face on the issues you want them to support.

Continue to meet with them on a regular basis, at least quarterly, Slikkers says. Follow up on these visits with letters to remind them of who you are and what issues are important to your business. Ask if you can be of any help, such as providing more information to guide them in their decision making.

In order to be heard above the din of other groups vying for their own legislative agendas, you need to be the proverbial squeaky wheel. Be friendly, be respectful, but squeak away.

— Melanie Winters
Associate editor



Star brite introduces Marine Descaling Fluid—a powerful, easy way to descale raw water-cooled systems using recirculation. It saves time, energy, and a lot of headache, allowing for a faster, cost-effective return-to-service for equipment.

NAW Elects 2021 Officers

Michael Medart of Medart Engine and Marine takes the helm as chairman of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors board.

Caterpillar Names Global Manager

Alex Berg will lead the manufacturer’s pleasure craft and yachting segment.

Nearly 320K Boats Sold in 2020

NMMA says new-boat sales are at their highest level in 12 years, with all powerboat segments up 8 to 22 percent.

‘Injection of Capital’ for Cox Powertrain

The British company said it will use the $16.7 million to expand operations and ramp up production of its CXO300 diesel outboard.

Groupe Beneteau Releases Preliminary 2020 Financials

Revenues were down 15.1 percent for the 16-month period that ended Dec. 31. A full report is due next month.

A Modern Twist on Word of Mouth

The supercharged power of user-generated content.