Marine Leadership Alliance holds annual conference


Attendees at the Marine Leadership Alliance's annual conference, which took place Sunday through Tuesday on Amelia Island, Fla., took part in educational and networking opportunities, including panel discussions and presentations on issues of importance to the industry.

More than 100 marine industry leaders attended this year.

On the first day, keynote speaker Scott Rasmussen presented data about Americans’ financial status and their outlook on the current market, insight on the upcoming presidential election and how all of these factors affect the marine industry.

Experts provided guidance for preventing and managing liability lawsuits that stem from boating accidents during the “Liability Insurance in the Marine Industry” panel discussion.

The second day began with the “Ethanol and the Marine Industry” panel discussion. John McKnight, director of environmental and safety compliance for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, opened the discussion with a brief history of ethanol and why it is now used as a fuel additive.

His research shows that isobutanol could be a replacement for ethanol.

Mark Riechers, director of regulatory development at Mercury Marine, spoke about the steps his company is taking to help its customers manage the negative effects of ethanol.

Buzz Hoover, vice president of petroleum supply at Gate Petroleum Co., discussed Gate's transition to using ethanol. Gate is investing heavily in water-testing systems to ensure that not a single drop of water gets into its fuel tanks. Gate has opened seven "ethanol-free" filling stations in the Jacksonville area and has plans for more.

The conference concluded with a presentation from NMMA president Thom Dammrich, who shared details about the “Welcome to the Water” national marketing campaign, which is designed to encourage the existing 75 million U.S. boaters to share their passion for boating by inviting friends and family to the water.

The Marine Leadership Alliance is a leadership forum of boatbuilders and key industry suppliers who meet quarterly to discuss concerns facing the marine industry.


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