In December 2012, approximately 30 marine dealers, distributors, retailers, manufacturers, trade associations, publishers, and government agencies, among others, met in suburban Chicago to address challenges facing the marine industry. At two previous meetings, nearly 200 industry stakeholders focused on six priority action items: attracting younger and more diverse participants to boating; supporting industry marketing efforts; creating stronger boating advocacy and addressing legislation perceived as hampering boating growth; affordability of boating; education; and outreach.
Participants created the Recreational Boating Leadership Council to oversee and coordinate these efforts, as well as individual committees to oversee individual priority action items. The group appointed Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, as chairman; Jim Frye, president of the Association of Marina Industries, as vice chairman; and Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, as secretary. The new council will coordinate efforts and shared resources and communicate progress.
The council will work to improve cross-sector communication and collaboration among all recreational boating stakeholder groups within each of the six priority areas with the goal of growing participation and achieving long-term growth for recreational boating. The group will meet at least twice annually to ensure progress and share information while addressing each priority.