MRAA named First Mate sponsor of 2015 American Boating Congress

MINNEAPOLIS — The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has signed on as a First Mate level sponsor of this year’s American Boating Congress. The boating industry’s annual legislative and political conference, ABC 2015 takes place May 11-13 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.

In each of the last three years, MRAA has escalated its support of ABC. MRAA began by hosting one of its two annual MRAA Board of Directors meetings in conjunction with ABC in 2012. It also invited its Young Leaders Advisory Council to meet in Washington for the event.

MRAA extensively promotes ABC to its membership every year, encouraging dealers to make the trip to Washington to gain face time with state representatives and to give their collective retail and individual dealerships a voice in front of lawmakers and regulatory agencies.

“The American Boating Congress is one of the most powerful and influential annual events our industry hosts,” says MRAA president Matt Gruhn. “It provides dealers with a unique and turn-key opportunity to meet their Congressional representatives and speak directly to Hill staffers about the issues they face on a day-to-day basis. We’re ramping up our support of this year’s ABC, both promotionally and financially speaking, because we’ve seen first-hand the impact that can be made when dealers partner with the rest of the industry to give boating a stronger voice in Washington.”

In 2014, MRAA was awarded the first-ever ABC Ambassador Award, recognizing the organization that most effectively and heavily marketed the event to its members and constituents. MRAA reached thousands of dealers on a daily and weekly basis through its newsletters, press releases, bulk e-mail campaigns, action alerts, social media posts, and personal outreach efforts, all of which espoused the value of attending the event and let dealers know how it could help positively impact their businesses.

This year, MRAA has an even more aggressive plan in place to market and promote ABC to member dealers. Mention of ABC and ABC-related events will regularly be featured in both MRAA’s monthly legislative newsletter, Washington Watch, as well as the monthly Bearings newsletter. Additionally, MRAA will distribute targeted e-blasts and video promotions leading up to the start of the event, urging MRAA members to attend. Personal member outreach, social media posts and mention of the impact that ABC can have for MRAA members at various MRAA presentations and events also will help drive dealer attendance in Washington this May.

“There are numerous issues up for discussion at ABC, all of which could have a profound impact on the success of our businesses,” explains MRAA public policy manager Will Higgins. “We need greater participation and unity around these issues so that the needs of the boating industry aren’t compromised in favor of another industry’s agenda. ABC is our opportunity to make a difference.”

For more information about ABC 2015, visit

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