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Kudos to the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA). Robert Soucy, MRAA’s Chairman, and Phil Keeter, President, have sent a letter to Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary, and Ben Bernanke, Fed Reserve Chairman, on behalf of the 3,500 MRAA member dealers.

In the letter, MRAA called on them to “use all your tools to support industries, like ours, in distress and do for our industry what you have done for home mortgages and auto loans. The credit crisis has had a dramatic impact on our industry, and boat sales have contracted severely,” they explained. “Our industry needs relief, and we need it quickly.” 

Well, I want to add my full support to this appeal. I want to call for a Boating Bailout! After all, banks, insurance companies, automakers and God knows who else are all lined up – so let’s get our boats in the line, too! Here goes:

Dear Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke:

America’s pleasure boat industry would genuinely appreciate just a small piece of the $700 billion pie you guys are dishing up.

Please understand, we’re team players and we’re not greedy. It’s OK for you to give the big banks $125 billion to share. We’re cool with that. After all, they only boo-booed by making bad mortgage loans to lots of people who couldn’t pay back. We’ve done nothing like that so we’ll settle for a minimal bailout, say just $100 million.

OK. After some additional consideration, I feel certain the boating industry could make it with just the initial $85 billion you slipped AIG a couple of months ago. Yes, of course, I know the AIG bail out is now up to $130 billion and rising but, like I said before, we in boating are team players – a mere $85 billion spread around to America’s boat dealers will get us going again and still leave plenty for all the others who want a bailout.

Listen, here’s the best way to look at this request. Our industry really didn’t screw up anything. You can’t say the same for many of those Wall Street investment companies that are at the front of the line for federal aid. All I’m really saying is we deserve a little, too. I mean, who doesn’t want to be included in the great Hank and Ben show these days? Congress has made you guys the Money Gods!

So, while we temporarily set aside the “Discover Boating” banner until next June, let’s raise up this new one: “Its Only Fair that We Get A Share!”

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