Ethanol remains boating industry’s biggest concern

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Fishing ranked No. 2 in the list of advocacy priorities.

Fishing ranked No. 2 in the list of advocacy priorities.

Ethanol and E15 are at the top of the marine industry’s list of advocacy concerns for the coming year, followed by recreational fishing, taxes, trade and boating safety, according to a new survey conducted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The survey had more than 1,500 respondents, exceeding the association’s projections, and results will shape the NMMA’s policy priorities in 2019, the group said in its newsletter, Currents.

Additional key issues were workforce, conservation, infrastructure, and other separate concerns, according to the survey.

Conservation issues focused on aquatic invasive species, red tides and algae blooms, boat recycling and derelict vessels, impact of climate change on water access and Everglades restoration.

Other separate issues included the right to hunt and fish/Constitutional amendments, permitting, state outdoor recreation offices, dealer contracts and vessel titling.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they had not participated in advocacy efforts listed by the NMMA, which included sharing a social media post from NMMA, attending an advocacy webinar, and going to American Boating Congress.

NMMA helped introduce legislation to protect consumers from misfuelling with E15 and expand the on-road use of alternative biofuels, such as biobutanol.

The industry also saw the Modern Fish Act get signed into law, and the NMMA supported safety priorities in the U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization bill.

The NMMA will focus on these issues, as well as resolving the trade war, which the group says has hit marine manufacturers particularly hard.

The organization says the issues outlined by survey respondents are more likely to be resolved in the current political climate.

Furthermore, conservation, infrastructure, workforce development, and several state specific issues – including uniformed titling and permitting – have been top industry priorities, and the survey results call additional attention to the need to address them.