A plan of your own

By Cindy L. Squires, Esq., chief counsel for Public Affairs and director of Regulatory Affairs, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)

The boating industry is increasingly finding itself in the crosshairs of government regulators, advocacy organizations and state and federal legislators. We are facing challenges such as the pending requirement that all boats have Clean Water Act permits to operate, new air emission regulations, proposed tax law changes, threats to boating access and even restrictive local zoning rules. NMMA and other organizations work hard at fighting these battles, but it is vital to our advocacy efforts that each and every boating business plays its role as well. The boating industry will be able to withstand these challenges and be more profitable, if every company includes government relations in their business plan.

Have you tasked someone in your company to monitor and take action when NMMA or other boating industry organizations issue calls to action? Have you invited your Congressional or state Representative to your plant or place of business? Do you donate to the re-election of pro-boating elected officials? Have you attended the American Boating Congress to learn about the issues and gone up to Capitol Hill to make your case directly to your representatives? Did you answer “No” to these questions? If so, then, it is time to make a change.

My best advice is to build a relationship with your state, federal and local representatives before you need their help. Given the challenges that the boating industry faces, you do not have the luxury of hoping that someone else is looking out for your interests and relying on the assumption that someone else sent that letter to your representative or a government agency. My advice is to ensure that government relations in your company’s business plan and practices.

This contribution is one in a series of solutions to the industry’s challenges as offered by female boating business professionals for the March 2008 issue of Boating Industry magazine. To view the article, Leading the way, including links to the entire list of solutions, click here.

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