By David Gee
I love this time of year. It’s my favorite in fact. The sweet spot of the boating season lies ahead, filled with endless possibilities and opportunities to make memories with friends and family and maybe even perfect strangers. As we all know, owning a boat is an easy way to make more friends!
One of the greatest novelists in the English language, Henry James, appreciated this time of year too. “Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Indeed.
It wasn’t summer when I ventured to our nation’s capital to attend my first-ever American Boating Congress, but I loved it anyway. ABC attracted a record 350 attendees (up from 250 just a year ago), 27 co-hosts (Boating Industry among them), 25 young professionals, 24 sponsors, and over 200 meetings with lawmakers and their staffs were conducted on Capitol Hill.
I thought the importance and impact of the recreational boating industry was further evidenced by the quality of the speakers who made time in their busy schedules to speak to the group. They included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (who noted in his remarks the 2.2% contribution to U.S. GDP the outdoor recreation industry generates), Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt (via video), many members of Congress, as well as Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier, and political strategists Kevin Madden and Adrienne Elrod.
While standing in line at Starbucks before the third day of the conference got underway, a friend of mine in the marine industry introduced me to the CEO of a boat building company even people who aren’t in boating recognize.
He wished me well in my new role, and congratulated us on keeping a publishing platform strong and profitable all these many years (none of my doing obviously). He also added that he thought Boating Industry is not only an important voice – and advocate – for the industry, but also provides a valuable outlet for others in the boating business to have their voices heard as well; specifically citing as an example the blog posts of Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin.
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Happy summer! And we’ll see you on the water.