American Boating Congress announces speakers


The 2013 American Boating Congress in Washington, D.C., will host Ken Walsh, the White House correspondent for US News and World Report, as well as Coast Guard Rear Adm. Dean Lee, as speakers.

“This year, kudos go to the National Marine Manufacturers Association,” Marine Retailers Association of the Americas legislative director Larry Innis told Trade Only Today. “They expanded ABC to include all industry participation and they have done an outstanding job.”

Schedule planning and coordination for the conference, which is set for May 8-9, has been done with the now 30 industry co-hosts of the conference, more than double the number of co-sponsors last year, NMMA president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only.

“The co-hosts have been making suggestions on topics and speakers, and the NMMA is listening, so it’s not just focused on the manufacturing side,” Innis said. “They’re making a point to focus on the whole industry, from dealers to manufacturers to marinas.”

One issue on everyone’s mind is ethanol, Innis said — a topic that is uniting the industry in a way he hasn’t seen since the days of the luxury tax. But there are other issues, too.

Many co-hosts asked for a representative from the National Ocean Council to attend as the group creates a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes, NMMA legislative director Jim Currie told Trade Only.

“We were concerned initially last year when the group put out a 118-page draft on ocean policy and didn’t mention recreational boating a single time,” Currie said. “There has been a great deal of angst that those who are connected with the White House might come out with some things that would put some restrictions on or potentially stop some of the things that we do on oceans.”

Organizers are also trying to add some congressional speakers to the lineup, but haven’t received confirmation at this early date.

— Reagan Haynes