Increases in both attendance and the number of co-hosts were cited for the success of the 2013 American Boating Congress, hosted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which wrapped May 9 in Washington, D.C.
Attendance at the congress increased from 160 to 200 and the number of co-hosts increased from 13 to 31, compared to last year, the ABC reports. The increase in participants from all sectors of the recreational boating community resulted in more than 250 meetings with members of Congress, up 34 percent from last year’s 187 visits, creating a more unified voice and making the boating industry’s presence known on Capitol Hill.
Opening May 8 with multiple planning meetings, a welcome luncheon and special awards and honorees, the States Organization for Boating Access recognized Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) with its annual congressional award for his significant contributions to boating recreation. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) was presented the Center for Coastal Conservation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportfishing, given each year to a federal legislator for promoting the sound conservation and use of ocean resources. The Center for Coastal Conservation also honored Phil Dyskow, former president of Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A., who received the Eddie Smith Manufacturer of the Year Award.
In addition to a robust conference program and successful meetings with Congress, the Congressional Boating Caucus was honored at a closing reception bringing federal legislators and industry stakeholders together under one common theme: support for the recreational boating industry as a whole. NMMA President Thom Dammrich noted, “I look at the boating industry as an ecosystem. If bad legislation and regulation adversely affects one part of the industry, it harms the entire industry. We must continue to work together to gain ground on Capitol Hill.”
Prior to the conference, the NMMA released updated economic impact data for the recreational boating industry.
The NMMA’s Center of Knowledge had recently contracted with the Recreational Marine Research Center at Michigan State University to update the 2008 “Economic Value of Recreational Boating at the State and Congressional District Level.” The respective datasheets include the “total annual economic value of recreational boating,” the number of recreational boating industry businesses, total jobs and annual recreational boating-related spending.
The full report, including U.S., state and congressional district information, is available for download.
Next year’s American Boating Congress will take place May 6-7, 2014.