U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) joined the U.S. recreational boating industry’s Congressional Boating Caucus this month as co-chairmen.
The senator and congressman join Republican counterparts Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in this role, the National Marine Manufacturers Association announced. Donnelly was previously the Democratic co-chairman in the House of Representatives.
The Congressional Boating Caucus is an informal, bipartisan group of senators and representatives that the NMMA formed in 1989 to advocate the interests of the recreational boating industry.
“We are pleased to welcome Sen. Donnelly and Rep. McIntyre as new co-chairs of the Congressional Boating Caucus,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “Both members of Congress continue to show a commitment to the recreational boating industry and we look forward to the guidance and leadership they will provide.”
Recreational boats are American-made, with 83 percent of powerboats sold in the United States made in this country. Recreational boating annually contributes $72 billion to the economy, employing 348,000 Americans. The caucus seeks to improve economic conditions that negatively affect the industry, which is 97 percent small businesses, protect the nation’s waterways for the estimated 83 million American boaters who use them each year, address boating safety and create international trade opportunities. There are four caucus co-chairs: one Democrat and one Republican from both the Senate and the House.
Marine manufacturing has a particularly strong impact on the states that these members of Congress represent: North Carolina, Indiana and Michigan:
• North Carolina: In 2011, retail sales of new powerboats, boat motors, trailers and accessories totaled more than $400 million. The state ranked 10th in the nation for boat registrations, with 467,828 in 2011. There are 1,165 recreational boating and marine manufacturing businesses in the state, contributing 13,180 jobs.
• Indiana: In 2011, retail sales of new powerboats, boat motors, trailers and accessories reached more than $176 million, ranking the state 24th in the nation. There were 217,297 boats registered in the state. There are 431 recreational boating and marine manufacturing businesses in Indiana, contributing 8,334 jobs.
• Michigan: In 2011, the state ranked third in the nation for retail sales of new powerboats, boat motors, trailers and accessories, with a total of $450 million. There were 803,391 registered boats in Michigan. There are 1,519 recreational boating and marine manufacturing businesses in the state, contributing 13,040 jobs.