The marine industry was on Capitol Hill this week to address members of the Congressional Boating Caucus and invite legislative staff to the annual State of the Industry briefings.
Members of BoatUS, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas attended the briefings on Wednesday at the Russell Senate and Rayburn House office buildings.
Speaking to the groups gathered, NMMA president Thom Dammrich reported on the boating industry’s rebound, or “long road back,” since the recession, according to a statement.
With the economy doing well, sales are up and reports from winter boat shows are positive, Dammrich said. He also shared ideas on what Congress can do to support this sector of U.S. manufacturing.
MRAA president Matt Gruhn spoke to the shortage of qualified service workers and the need for elected leaders to continue to broaden their thinking about what education means in America.
“We need more support for apprenticeship and other technical trade programs, and encourage more people to make recreational boating their career,” said Gruhn.
BoatUS government affairs vice president Chris Edmonston spoke about the need for legislator support for recreational boating access and, specifically, the Water Resources Development Act, which helps maintain the navigability of waterways by providing funds for dredging.
Edmonston also spoke about the success of boating safety education in reducing accidents and fatalities, and the need to revamp Coast Guard licensing to better address the needs of boaters.
“The current licensing system was never intended for recreational boaters,” said Edmonston.
The Congressional Boating Caucus is an informal bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives formed in 1989 to advocate for the interests of the marine industry.