The 2023 American Boating Congress (ABC) concluded yesterday in Washington, D.C., after three days of policy conversations, panel discussions, marine industry updates, conversations with members of Congress, and a day spent on Capitol Hill advocating on behalf of the recreational marine industry.
On Tuesday, day 2, attendees engaged in discussions with Representatives Garret Graves (R-LA-06), John Joyce (R-PA-13) and Rudy Yakym (R-IN-02), who spoke about the importance of technology solutions and real-time data monitoring for marine mammal protection, including for the North Atlantic right whale.
Keynote speaker, POLITICO journalist Jonathan Martin, provided an overview on the state of play in Washington, D.C. Members had the opportunity to ask Martin questions about topics ranging from the polarization in Congress to the health of our democracy.
Day two closed with the Congressional Boating Caucus briefing at the NMMA Product Showcase, which is back for its second year. Opening the briefing, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC-01) shared what boating means to South Carolina and her fond memories of time spent on the water. Attendees and staffers had the opportunity to test products on The Wharf.
Attendees were at Capitol Hill on Wednesday where they met with lawmakers and staff to discuss policy issues impacting recreational boating and fishing. Members of Congress took center stage and shared insight into some of the challenges federal lawmakers are tackling. Attendees engaged in discussions with Representatives Peter Stauber (R-MN-08) and Daniel Webster (R-FL-14), as well as Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
NMMA presented Senator John Boozman (R-AR) with the Legislator of the Year Award. In addition to serving on the Congressional Boating Caucus, Senator Boozman continues to be an advocate for boaters and anglers, most recently co-sponsoring and introducing bills such as the Lake Access Keeping Economies Strong (LAKES) Act which will better fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and allow for the agency to retain and reinvest its recreation fees. He also championed America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, an outdoor recreation legislative package that invests in public lands and waters.