MIASF withdraws from MIAF

MIAMI – The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) has withdrawn its membership in the Marine Industries Association of Florida (MIAF) partially due to concerns over the state group’s proactive legislative agenda, MIAF reported in a statement today.

What it comes down to, according to MIAF Board President Joe Lewis, is that MIASF is focused on the megayacht business – which makes up the majority of marine industry dollars, but a small fraction of the units sold in the state – while MIAF’s focus encompasses the entire boating industry.

In an interview today, Lewis gave an example of the divergence in views. MIAF has recently been focusing quite a bit on water access – specifically creating more public access boat ramps and parking, something “folks in South Florida could care less about.”

“I understand where they’re coming from,” he said. “They’re just not thinking about the whole picture.”

MIASF members, totaling about 800, had represented 50 percent of the state association’s membership, according to MIASF.

“The state association felt it should be the legislative voice of the state,” said MIASF President Kristina Hebert in an interview today. Given the diversity of the industry, there shouldn’t be a single legislative voice in Florida, she added.

MIASF has its own lobbyist, who is best able to meet its needs, she suggested. A better role for MIAF might be sharing best management practices, for example, Hebert stated.

In addition, MIASF was concerned over MIAF’s lack of a strategic plan for the future, she said.

MIAF actually does have a plan, however, said Lewis. It has been in place since last January, but the association “hadn’t done a wonderful job of implementing it” until recently, he explained.

Despite withdrawing its membership, MIASF hopes the two groups can work together on specific initiatives, like a state-wide summit.

MIAF pointed out that MIASF members can independently gain MIAF membership and said it expects many businesses in Broward and Dade counties will do so.

The MIAF is currently comprised of more than 800 marine businesses, most of which are also affiliated with local marine industry associations.

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