Boating’s future to be discussed at ABC

WASHINGTON – Discussions at the 2006 American Boating Congress will revolve around the future of boating in the United States, the National Marine Manufacturers Associations said in a press release yesterday.

The centerpiece discussion will include Irwin Jacobs, Genmar Holdings Inc. chairman and CEO; Dustan “Dusty” McCoy, Brunswick Corp. chairman and CEO; and Coast Guard Rear Adm. Craig Bone, director of Inspections & Compliance at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters.

The panel will also discuss water access and boating safety issues impacting the industry in the future.

“Having Jacobs and McCoy together at the same table discussing their view of the future of recreational boating will surely be a huge draw at this year’s ABC,” said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government relations. “Add to the mix Admiral Bone, who oversees boating safety, and you have the makings of a great conversation.”

In addition to recreational boating’s future, water access will play a large part in the discussion and in the 2006 ABC overall. Non-water dependent development is challenging water access throughout the country. Current boaters are finding it more difficult to use their boats, and potential boaters are thinking twice about making the investment unless it comes with the prospect of a berth or convenient access point.

With access points in jeopardy or rapidly decreasing, the threat to future boat sales is becoming a reality. Two very recent examples were land developers’ and state power companies’ attempts to ban whole boat classes from public lakes in Alabama and Georgia.

“Protecting and improving access to America’s waterways for the nation’s boaters is a key piece of NMMA’s government relations mission,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “That’s why it is crucial for the industry to recognize and support the importance of the Water Access Task Force, whose job it is not only to maintain but increase access for boaters.”

“It is an issue the industry is increasingly grappling with, and the 2006 ABC presents an amazing opportunity to come together, discuss it, and bring it directly before decision makers,” Fontaine said. “When constituents talk, Congress listens – there is no greater voice than our members to advocate on issues important to the recreational boating industry.”

The American Boating Congress is a political and legislative event that brings recreational boating leaders and top government officials together. The 2006 ABC will be held from April 30 – May 2 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington.

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