NMMA bestows 2006 Chapman Award

MIAMI – The National Marine Manufacturers Association has named Richard Schwartz, chairman and founder of the Boat Owners Association of the United States, as the recipient of this year’s Charles F. Chapman Award, NMMA said in a statement yesterday. Schwartz received the award at the Miami International Boat Show Media Breakfast yesterday morning.

First established in 1977, the Chapman Award recognizes individuals or groups that have provided consistent promotion and protection of the sport of boating and its benefits to both the recreational boating industry and the public.

“Without a doubt, Richard’s contributions to recreational boating are both deep and broad,” said George Bellwoar, NMMA chairman. “Few people in the industry can match his credentials for promoting boating safety to the public. His example is truly inspiring and one we are privileged to recognize.”

As founder and chairman of Alexandria, Va.-based BoatU.S., Schwartz built a national organization of recreational boat owners that has grown steadily over a period of 40 years. Today, the organization boasts upwards of 640,000 dues-paying members.

With Schwartz at the helm, BoatU.S. took the lead and succeeded in convincing Congress to repeal the federal boat “user fee” tax, the federal marine diesel fuel tax, the FCC VHF license fee and to retain LORAN-C, saving the recreational boating public hundreds of millions of dollars and removing barriers that could discourage boaters from continuing to boat. BoatU.S. has also been a leading advocate for the Wallop/Breaux Trust Fund and the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program, which will funnel nearly $100 million into transient access facilities for cruising boats.

Schwartz also serves as chairman of the board of the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. As chairman, he is responsible for directing more than one million boaters to free boating and safety courses offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Power Squadrons and the states; has distributed more than one million pieces of free boating safety literature to the boating public in each of the past twenty years; and has provided more that 13,000 children’s life jackets to boating safety organizations free of charge at nearly 400 locations across the U.S. within the last nine years.

The BoatU.S. Foundation has also developed a free online boating safety course passed by more than 350,000 boaters, distributed nearly $700,000 in Safety Grants to local boating groups since 1989 and provided an additional $150,000 in Clean Water Grants since 1999. Most recently, the foundation co-sponsored the Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition along with the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA), awarding a $5,000 cash prize to the individual who submitted the best life jacket design.

Besides receiving a crystal award for the Chapman honor, NMMA will also donate $1,000 to the non-profit organization of Schwartz’s choice, which is the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation Disaster Relief Fund.

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