NMMA supports tax incentives to increase boating safety

WASHINGTON – A bill has been introduced in Congress that would allow boat manufacturers to deduct the cost of lifejackets and emergency position indicating radio beacons by providing the equipment free of charge to new boat buyers, the National Marine Manufacturers Association said recently.

Congressman John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), has introduced H.R. 5274, the Boating Safety Tax Incentive Act, which the NMMA said “provides boat manufacturers an incentive to supply new boats with the most up-to-date lifejackets, which the new boat purchaser might not otherwise buy themselves.”

“The recreational boating industry is committed to promoting legislation that would increase boater safety,” said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president of Government Relations. “We’re grateful to Congressman Sweeney for his leadership in introducing this important legislation, and we will work diligently with him to pass this bill into law.”

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that in 2004 there were 676 recreational boating deaths. Approximately 90 percent of the victims who drowned were not wearing lifejackets. The Coast Guard estimates that approximately 431 lives could have been saved had boaters worn lifejackets. Additional lives would also likely have been saved had EPIRB technology been more widely used by boaters. Between 1982 and 2002, these devices enabled the rescue of nearly 15,000 people, NMMA said.

“As responsible corporate stewards, the businesses that comprise the recreational marine industry have traditionally taken a proactive approach to boating safety,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “As part of this effort, the industry is working to increase lifejacket wear in recreational boating and the usage of EPIRB’s; passage of this legislation would boost these efforts tremendously.”

Sweeney’s bill has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means where it awaits further action.

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