NMMA, marine manufacturers, and members of the Congressional Boating Caucus – including Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02), Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03), and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA-02) – assembled for a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss the economic impact of the recreational boating industry. The event – titled “Boating Industry Briefing: Jobs, Businesses, and the Economy” – also served as the official release of NMMA’s latest economic data infographics, which highlight the industry’s economic impact at the national, state, regional, and congressional district levels.
One common theme was shared by all – though the recreational boating industry is largely made up of small businesses, it has a big economic impact. The industry generated $170.3 billion in spending in 2018, supporting 691,000 jobs and 35,000 businesses across all 50 states.
Members of Congress praised the recreational boating industry for continuing to support the U.S. economy and creating jobs in their districts. Representatives also discussed challenges facing the marine manufacturing industry, including headwinds from Section 232 tariffs and tariffs on boat exports that are affecting the industry's bottom line.
- Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02) promised manufacturers that she is working on behalf of the industry to fight the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum that are hurting Indiana manufacturers, as well as businesses across the country.
- Representative Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02) discussed the importance of manufacturing to the fabric of the U.S. economy and noted that support of business-friendly legislation like the Modern Fish Act is crucial to ensuring the recreational boating industry continues to thrive.
- Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) thanked industry stakeholders for supporting small businesses and discussed how the Congressional Boating Caucus looks for bipartisan opportunities to help the recreational boating industry.
- Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN-02) pledged to support the industry and thanked Tennessee marine manufacturing companies for investing in the community and creating jobs in the state.
- Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA-02) praised the recreational boating industry for contributing to the California economy and for working to preserve the health of America's oceans and waterways.
Representatives from NMMA member companies – including Kevin Grodzki of Brunswick, David Slikkers of Tiara Yachts, Bill Yeargin of Correct Craft, and Joan Maxwell of Regulator Marine – discussed issues facing the marine manufacturing industry and their outlook for business growth in the years ahead. They thanked members of Congress for their support of the industry and urged action on solutions for trade and workforce shortage issues.
Maxwell had one final message to lawmakers on behalf of the recreational boating industry: "We're here today to tell you that boating is more than fun. What we really want you to understand is that it's about people going to work, and we need your help to ensure these people keep going to work."