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NMMA suspends Grow Boating ad campaign

The continuing slump in the marine industry has prompted industry leaders to suspend the national advertising campaign for Grow Boating and redirect assessments to support immediate sales-driving efforts at the manufacturer and dealer levels.

By unanimous vote, the board decided to redirect 85 percent of assessments incurred on or after Oct. 1 and continuing through June 30, 2009. Boatbuilders essentially are getting an 85 percent credit on the assessments they’re supposed to submit for the Grow Boating campaign, provided they meet certain criteria. These include:

  • applying 100 percent of the redirected assessment credits toward creating marketing and promotional efforts that will assist dealers in moving product
  • assisting dealers in converting prospects into buyers
  • reporting to dealers on how the credits are being spent

The majority of Grow Boating funds comes from assessments on marine engines. Boatbuilders pay the assessment from sales of boat and engine packages, while engine manufacturers pay an assessment from each loose engine sale.

There is no change for engine manufacturers. They will continue to report engine sales to NMMA in order for the association to bill Grow Boating assessments, and there is no change in the assessment on loose engines sales.

Lower industry sales means less funding will be available for Grow Boating efforts next year. The National Marine Manufacturers Association board of directors determined there would not be enough money to produce an effective national advertising campaign.

The remaining 15 percent of Grow Boating assessments will be used to support three core programs: public relations,, and Marine Industry Dealership Certification, which will offer new programs in order to provide more cost-effective options for dealers.

“When we developed the Grow Boating Initiative, we realized it would require long-term support in order to see real growth, and so the NMMA board remains unanimously committed to returning to our united, national campaign as soon as market conditions improve,” said Thom Dammrich, president of Grow Boating and NMMA, in a statement.

The NMMA board will re-examine the assessment issue next May when it meets during the American Boating Congress in Washington, D.C. At that time, based on market conditions, it will determine whether the redirected assessments should be extended beyond June 30.

The NMMA will continue contributing its own dollars to fund Grow Boating. This includes fully funding all water access activities, product certification efforts, and staff and overhead costs.

Contact Carl Blackwell, vice president of marketing and communications for Grow Boating and NMMA, at (312) 946-6277 or


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