More than 250 business leaders from across all sectors of the U.S. recreational boating industry descended on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 11-13, 2015, for the annual American Boating Congress (ABC). ABC is organized by NMMA and is co-hosted by 35 other industry and boating organizations, including the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Recreational boating is no small contributor to the U.S. economy. During the advocacy three-day event industry stakeholders communicated on Capitol Hill the significance of our industry’s $121 billion annual direct, indirect and induced economic impact in addition to the priority issues facing recreational boating. Recreational boating supports more than 650,000 direct and indirect jobs and nearly 35,000 businesses nationwide. An estimated 87 million Americans are expected to take to the water in the U.S. this year. What’s more, 72 percent of boat owners earn a household income of less than $100,000, making recreational boating a decidedly middle-class activity.
While meeting with policymakers, ABC attendees also addressed some of the more pressing issues facing boaters and the U.S. boating industry including the Renewable Fuel Standard and E15, corporate tax reform and its effect on small businesses, aquatic invasive species and how the industry is responding, as well as many other legislative and regulatory concerns.
Prominent speakers addressing areas of interest for the U.S. recreational boating industry included a keynote address from David Gregory, former NBC Meet the Press moderator, as well as Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1), Congressman Curt Clawson (FL-19), Mayor Tomas Regalado, City of Miami, Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, U. S. Coast Guard, and Eileen Sobek, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.