Homeland Security secretary addresses ABC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff addressed attendees at the American Boating Congress Monday, the first full day of ABC, to highlight the critical role the recreational boating industry plays in the nation’s security.

Hundreds from throughout the recreational boating community convened at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., for day one of the recreational boating industry’s two-day legislative conference.

Secretary Chertoff’s address highlighted ways the boating community can work alongside the Department of Homeland Security to help ensure the safety of Americans via the nation’s waterways. As part of its Small Vessel Security Strategy, DHS hopes to enhance maritime security efforts.

“The recreational boating industry commends the Department of Homeland Security for recognizing that a small vessel security strategy must strike the proper balance between fundamental freedoms, adequate security and continued economic stability,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a National Marine Manufacturers Association press release. “We know that security will not be found in extreme measures that limit boaters’ rights, but working hand in hand with the Department of Homeland Security will be an effective way of ensuring a balance of national security with the rights of recreational boaters to unobstructed access to America’s waterways.”

“Boaters are passionate about their time on the water because it affords them an opportunity to escape many of the stresses they find on land, enjoy quality time with loved ones and truly experience the freedom of the open water,” said Scott Gudes, an avid boater and NMMA vice president of Government Relations. “The boating community wants nothing more than to protect the water we cherish, and we’re thrilled to work alongside the Department of Homeland Security to ensure we’re able to enjoy our nation’s waterways for years to come.”

The American Boating Congress continues through April 29, with a comprehensive agenda to address issues facing the recreational boating industry on Capitol Hill.

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