As more than 250 business leaders from across all sectors of the U.S. recreational boating industry gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. last week for the American Boating Congress (ABC), Suzi DuRant was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award for her tireless service on behalf of recreational boating and as a champion for the state of South Carolina.
After a career with the American Bankers Association in Washington D.C. where Suzi got her start in advocacy, and managing marinas in the Chesapeake with her husband Nelson, DuRant moved to Charleston, S.C., where she and her husband started a marine business in 1997.
Suzi immersed herself as a volunteer with the South Carolina Marine Association (SCMA), chairing the boat show committee and serving on the board. In 2006, Suzi went from volunteer to paid staff as the executive director of the SCMA. She has led the industry in South Carolina, assuming control of the Clean Marina program to keep it viable when state agencies decided they could not do it any longer. She has lobbied the South Carolina legislature on behalf of recreational boating on a wide range of issues from taxation to dredging.
Suzi represents the industry on the State’s Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Task Force and oversees industry participation in the South Carolina Water Safety Coalition. For many years, she produced the Charleston In-Water Boat Show with an all-volunteer staff, and has worked to restore the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway advocating in the South Carolina legislature and serving on the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway Association Board of Directors. During the Great Recession, Suzi was the architect of affiliating the SCMA with NMMA.
“Suzi makes sure that NMMA remains highly involved in industry issues throughout the state of South Carolina and has created strong advocates for recreational boating among South Carolina’s Members of Congress, the state legislature and state agencies,” NMMA President Thom Dammrich says. “Her unwavering work has created long-lasting, positive changes for the state of South Carolina and the boating industry at large and we thank her for her commitment.”