Organizers discuss plans for 2014 American Boating Congress

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On the heels of what was considered a successful and productive American Boating Congress, organizers and co-hosts met via conference call on Thursday to discuss what went well and how to make the 2014 ABC even better.

“This was my 19th ABC and we’ve always had excellent participation,” said John McKnight, the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s vice president/director of environmental and safety compliance. “But I felt there was a whole different pulse this year — one of the best ever.”

Callers agreed with McKnight, but discussed several points to consider in planning for the next ABC, set for May 6-7, 2014.

Matters discussed included how to build on the 200 registered conferees this year; the cost of attendance; better preparation of a game plan for conferees heading to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers; adding more breakout sessions for those not attending board meetings; greater flexibility in regard to registration options; and changing or eliminating elements of the program.

All agreed that cost-saving options in an expensive city such as Washington are limited, but McKnight said organizers will try to find ways to reduce the cost of attending.

Yacht Brokers Association of America executive director Vincent Petrella suggested finding “a way to reduce the time commitment and overall expense, maybe an a la carte registration so the commitment for attendees doesn’t have to drag out for three days.”

The timing of the post-Hill reception, when many conferees are scrambling to catch flights out of town, also was discussed.

Anyone interested in contributing ideas or suggestions for the next ABC are asked to take a survey the NMMA recently created at

— Rich Armstrong