In one of its first acts upon returning to Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Outdoor REC Act, a bill that moves to count the outdoor recreation economy as part of the U.S. gross domestic product.
The bill quantifies the true size of the outdoor economy, including recreational boating.
The Senate Commerce Committee passed a companion bill earlier this year. If the full Senate approves the legislation before the holidays, President Obama can sign it into law.
The REC Act would direct the Commerce Secretary, through the Bureau of Economic Analysis, to “conduct an assessment and analysis of the outdoor recreation economy of the United States,” according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
The NMMA said the Secretary of the Interior enacted a temporary pilot program in April. Congressional action is needed to make sure the outdoor economy — and its estimated 6 million jobs and $646 billion in economic activity — receives official government recognition for years to come, the NMMA said.
Recreational boating is a significant part of the outdoor economy, representing billions of dollars in economic activity and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The NMMA said it is an active part of the team that will work with the Bureau of Economic Analysis to shape how outdoor recreation is defined and ensure that the reach and impact of the boating industry are recognized.