In-Depth – Dammrich speaks out on funding

CHICAGO - Though Thom Dammrich and Larry Russo share a mutual respect for each other, they don't always agree. Funding for the Grow Boating Initiative's Dealer Certification program is one such example.

Russo, the chairman of the initiative's Dealer Quality and Standards Task Force, believes that the per-horsepower funding model proposed for the Grow Boating marketing campaign should also be used to raise money for dealer certification.

And he believes the best way to do that is to increase engine prices by $1 per horsepower, rather than the $0.20 that has been suggested, for a total of more than $50 million in funds.

Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, doesn't concur. In fact, he believes funding for the Dealer Certification program should be raised separately from the marketing campaign.

“The funding collected by the engine manufacturers - that money is all going to go to the marketing campaign,” he said. “I don't see that money being used to fund dealer certification.”

While Dammrich agrees that the program must be adequately funded, he doesn't think anyone knows what that magic number is today and he believes the planning for the Dealer Certification program is at too early a stage to determine the source of the funding.

The NMMA president added that while he knows there are a few dealers who support Russo's proposal to raise a dollar per horsepower, there is not broad support for it.

Certification will come with a cost

Regardless of how the money is raised or how much is raised, Dammrich and Russo agree that dealers are going to have to pay a fee to be certified.

To see where dealers stand on this issue, see Boating Industry's Dealer Certification Survey, the results of which will be included in the Friday edition of the Boating Industry e-News.

See Part One of this series for Larry Russo's stance.

-Liz Walz

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