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Heading to Capitol Hill

After two years of being virtual, the American Boating Congress advocacy event will happen in person this May
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The 2022 American Boating Congress is returning in person to the nation’s capital from May 11 through May 13.

ABC brings together all facets of the North American recreational boating industry for three days of exclusive discussions with members of Congress and administration officials, timely policy updates and insights, networking opportunities and more. As the industry faces several challenges — supply-chain disruptions, trade disputes and the need for climate-resilient infrastructure — this year’s advocacy event will focus on what more the industry can do to project its collective voice in the halls of Congress and secure major victories for the booming recreational boating industry.

And booming, it is. The boating industry has seen impressive growth during the pandemic, with many Americans looking for reprieve in the great outdoors and on our nation’s waters. Even amid a year of closures and pandemic-related challenges, outdoor recreation generated $689 billion in economic output, supporting 4.3 million jobs across the country. Overwhelmingly, recreational boating and fishing is the No. 1 contributor to the outdoor recreation economy, and is the largest activity in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Trends suggest that spending time outdoors and boating are here to stay.

ABC is the industry’s preeminent advocacy event. Following two years of virtual meetings, we are looking forward to gathering in person and connecting with key boating industry champions. Attendees also will be able to chat with influential speakers, including political analyst Charlie Cook, founder of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, and Curtis Dubay, senior economist with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Discussions with this year’s speakers, including members of Congress and administration officials, will focus on how the midterm elections might shift political priorities within Congress, and the effects of those shifts on boating. Insight can be gleaned about changing environmental and climate policies, with an emphasis on electrification and next- generation propulsion systems.

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New to ABC this year is a product showcase that will highlight some of the industry’s latest and greatest innovations in the pursuit of a more enjoyable and sustainable boating experience. Running concurrently with ABC’s traditional programming, the product showcase will further bring boating and the industry to life, and provide policy-makers and their staff an unparalleled opportunity to engage with a variety of products that America’s marine manufacturers produce.

To celebrate recreational boating champions, the boating and fishing community will recognize three individuals with industry awards, including the Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award, the Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award and the BoatPAC Champion for Growth Award.

Whether this year will be your first, fifth or 10th time attending the American Boating Congress, robust boating and fishing community participation is essential to advancing our shared advocacy agenda. We look forward to seeing everyone in Washington, D.C., in May. Register for the event at nmma.org/advocacy/take-action/abc

John-Michael Donahue is vice president of North American public affairs for the NMMA.

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue.

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