WASHINGTON, D.C. — National Marine Manufacturer’s Association President Thomas J. Dammrich, in cooperation with the US Congressional Boating Caucus co-chairs Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich, and Rep. Mike McIntyre D-NC, gave a briefing on the State of the Recreational Boat Industry and Implications for the US Economy yesterday at the US Capitol’s Longworth House Office Building. Joining Dammrich and providing a voice for the nation’s recreational boaters was Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) President Margaret Podlich who shared additional information on boater demographics and the need for boating-friendly legislation.
NMMA’s Dammrich offered Boating Caucus staff some hard facts that point to the need for a strong American boat manufacturing industry, spoke about how Capitol Hill directly affects the boating industry and advised what Congress can do in terms of their work to support this important sector of US manufacturing. Facts presented include:
- Recreational boating is big business: Consumers spend a whopping $646 billion each year on outdoor recreation, and one out every five of those dollars is spent on recreational boating and fishing.
- Boating, along with outdoor recreation is on the upswing: In the last five years, fishing participation is up 11% and boating is up 26%. 88 million Americans went boating in 2013.
- Boat manufacturing is uniquely an American industry: 95% of powerboats sold in the US are built in the US.
- Boating is middle class: 95% of all boats in use are less than 26 feet long and 78% of boaters have a household income of less than $100,000.
BoatUS’ Podlich spoke about the range of boating activities and participants, and the specific policy needs of these groups.
“Boating is a healthy outdoor recreation to do alone, with family or friends, but there is a lot of competition for that personal down-time and for the discretionary dollars needed for boat ownership,” said Podlich. “Boating is not an activity for the 1% – it’s for everyone from truck drivers to elementary school teachers, and we need to keep that in mind when we start talking policies and regulations. Boat owners also need the products, competition and innovation that only a strong domestic boating industry can bring. Coupled with that, to enable boating to continue to be a $121 billion industry in this country, we need smart long-term sustainable policy on everything from ethanol to dredging.”