N.C. trade association to be revived?

RALEIGH, N.C. – Officials with the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center are offering to help reestablish the state’s marine trades association, it was suggested in the most recent edition of the NC Marine TradeWinds Newsletter.

“We have had a number of calls to reestablish our long dormant NCMTA and the reasons are many and varied,” wrote Mike Bradley of SBTDC. “The most easily supported reason is to create NC legislative awareness of industry needs and concerns – otherwise known as lobbying. Lobbying does not come inexpensively but the returns are certainly well demonstrated. As a state entity, our NC Boating Industry Services cannot manage or control this association, but we can provide the entity with information and services such as this newsletter, seminars, workshops, and a database of thousands of NC boating industry companies.”

Bradley reported that his group would try this winter “to bring together interested business and corporate representatives to establish the basics for this association.” He suggested, however, that funding the association, without a revenue source like a boat show, might pose a challenge. Among the costs he pointed out were the salary of an association manager, a lobby budget and communication costs, which he suggested could “easily run toward $100,000.”

Among the issues he suggested such a group might address were: “working waterfront retention plans such as property tax deferment or a ‘save our business’ plans like Florida’s Save our Homes reform and others; uniform NC DOT boat transportation rules that accommodate nationwide usage; power wash regulations that won’t kill off another 50 percent of our existing boatyards; coastal stormwater regulations that have some ‘forgive’ for industry that must be on the water; CAMA and Shellfish rules that ‘bend’ for multi-business marine parks, and a string of issues that have national acceptance but need NC ratification or full adoption such the ‘Ballast’ issue, the Hull Splash issue, ‘Homeland Security’ issues, and many others that will require North Carolina vigilance.”

North Carolina marine businesspeople were asked to send ideas, comments and concerns, as well as suggest “the range of dues support your company is willing to invest annually,assuming NCMTA delivers to meet your expectations,” to MikeBradley@NCwaterways.com.

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