About 300 industry members and legislators attended a two-day event that the National Marine Manufacturers Association held at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week to highlight the importance of the boating industry.
The number included nine members of Congress and their staff, delegates from Florida and Louisiana, and other state representatives, including those from Massachusetts, Arkansas, Texas and North Carolina.
The event, which took place on Wednesday and Thursday and featured a variety of boats available for demonstrations, provided a platform for the industry to meet with the country’s leaders to discuss the Great Lakes habitat, as well as the economic impact of the U.S. boating industry, according to the NMMA.
About 10 recreational boats of various sizes and types were docked for visitors to see. Plans were to also take guests on trips both days, but Nicole Vasilaros, vice president of federal and legal affairs for the NMMA, told Crain’s Cleveland Business Journal that the event unexpectedly became part of the convention’s security zone on Wednesday, so some people came back for rides on Thursday.
Martin Peters, manager of marine government relations for the Marine Group Co. for Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A., told the publication that he wanted the delegates to understand the economic impact of the boating industry and the effect that regulations have on it. Yamaha may be based in Japan, but it has a strong manufacturing presence in the United States, he said.
Bill Gribble, president of PlasTeak and PlasDeck in Copley, Ohio, said he wanted to take part to demonstrate that boating is an important industry. Gribble’s companies make products such as synthetic teak decks for boats.
“The water is important,” he told the paper. “It needs to be taken care of.”