This will be a busy week in Washington, D.C., for the marine industry, with a broad group of industry representatives heading to the nation’s capital to advocate and to educate lawmakers.
The American Boating Congress, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, and a meeting of the Growth Summit Recreational Boating Leadership Council headline the agenda, but various associations and committees will use the gathering to discuss group strategy.
The Leadership Council, created at the third growth summit last December, will serve as a steering committee to oversee and coordinate efforts to create a national industrywide coalition of recreational boating stakeholders.
The council’s six committees are Diversity; Youth; Affordability; Advocacy; Education & Training; and Marketing & Communications. The council will meet from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday at The Liaison Capitol Hill hotel.
That day, the States’ Organization for Boating Access will hold several focus group sessions from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the same hotel.
Wednesday morning sees board meetings of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which includes its newly created Young Leaders Advisory Council; the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association; the Association of Marina Industries; and the NMMA’s Political Action Committee, which will also host a private reception.
An ABC welcome lunch Wednesday formally opens another industrywide full-court press of U.S. senators, House members and their staffs on several issues key to the boating industry’s health and growth. Those issues are:
• E15 — The NMMA supports two bills: HR 1462, which would cap ethanol in gasoline at 10 percent, and HR 875, which would repeal the EPA’s waiver approving sales of E15 until the agency seeks an independent scientific analysis from the National Academy of Sciences to explore the harmful effects of the blend.
• Access — Attendees will tell legislators about the importance of protecting boater and angler access to our national parks, marine sanctuaries and other protected federal waters. Restrictions to access have been proposed for Biscayne National Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Everglades National Park. NMMA encourages industry representatives to be engaged in the decision making process and to ask that stakeholders balance conservation efforts with public access.
• Dredging — Members will push legislators on the critical issue of dredging projects that keep waterways navigable and their neglect in the recent economic climate. Reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act, in particular, will be stressed.
• Tax deduction — Attendees will advocate protection of the interest deduction for boats qualifying for a second home.
Hill visits to the House and Senate office building by contingents from each state will be held Thursday afternoon.
Trade Only Today will deliver daily reports this week from ABC.
The 2013 ABC is hosted by 31 industry organizations.