BoatU.S. urges boaters to speak up for boating

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – In the wake of a recently released government report that finds the nations oceans and coasts in “serious trouble,” BoatU.S. issued a statement yesterday urging recreational boaters to “act now so boating’s ‘voice’ will be heard.”

Recreational boaters have an unprecedented opportunity to “speak up for boating,” according to BoatU.S., after the presidential panel’s report recommended the country act now to “reverse distressing declines; seize exciting opportunities; and sustain the oceans, coasts and the valuable resources for the future generations.”

BoatU.S. asks boaters to contact their governor’s by May 21 to let them know that recreational boating is an important lifestyle that must be taken into account, according to the release.

How much the 16-member U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy’s decisions will specifically affect recreational boating remains unclear. The commission issued its preliminary report April 20, asking state governors to comment on the findings. The report called for a dozen broad federal government actions it labeled “critical,” six of which would directly affect recreational boating, according to BoatU.S.

Panel proposals affecting boating and BoatU.S. reaction

  • Establishment of a National Ocean Council in the Executive Office of the President: BoatU.S. views this as a positive step that can help ensure balanced use of ocean and coastal waters and resources.
  • Creation of a non-federal Presidential Council of Advisors on Ocean Policy: BoatU.S. believes that recreational boating should be represented on the council.
  • Strengthening the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: BoatU.S. believes that this agency provides critical services to recreational boaters such as charting, marine weather, fisheries management and research, and it must have more resources to do the job.
  • Development of a flexible, voluntary process for creating regional ocean councils: BoatU.S. believes such councils could have far-reaching affects on issues such as boating access and marina development.
  • Reforming fisheries management: BoatU.S. believes the Regional Fishery Management Council system should be improved through more balanced representation among voting council members and that sound science must drive management decisions.
  • Establishment of an Ocean Policy Trust Fund (using revenue from offshore energy development to pay for implementing recommendations): BoatU.S. believes that monies derived from the oceans should be returned to programs that support sustainable public use and enjoyment of our waters.
  • “Whether these proposals are adopted or not depends on how well boaters and the state and local organizations that represent them take advantage of this opportunity to get involved,” said Ryck Lydecker, BoatU.S. associate director of Federal Affairs.

    “Many of the recommendations focus on ‘living resources’ meaning fish and other animals in ocean and coastal waters that are of concern to anglers. But everything from the management of inland waterways to international treaties is now going to be on the table.”

    Following a full analysis of the draft report, BoatU.S. said it will file comments on behalf of its 565,000 members. However, BoatU.S. encourages boaters in every state to review the commission’s recommendations and provide comments to their respective governors before the May 21 deadline.

    Boaters can go to the BoatU.S. Web site to view the report.

    Send copies of your comments to:

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