A majority of those in the boating industry believe government regulations are making it difficult for them to grow their business.
That’s according to the latest Boating Industry survey, which surveyed readers of the magazine and digital products about their top issues and attitudes about government policies and regulations. The survey was conducted by email in March, with respondents a mix of dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and others in the industry.
Nearly 60 percent of readers said that government regulations hurt their ability to grow their business in the last year. The specific regulations cited by respondents varied, but most were focused around restrictions on fishing, local permitting issues and environmental policy from emissions to the Renewable Fuel Standard and its ethanol requirements.
Some other key findings:
- Ethanol is the top concern, with 30 percent saying it was the most important issue to their company, twice that of the next highest issue (water access) at 15 percent.
- The Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) is much less of a concern to readers than it was a year ago. In 2014, 20 percent said it was their top concern and 67 percent were “very concerned” about it. Those numbers dropped to 9 percent and 49 percent this year.
- Those in the industry are taking action: 80 percent of respondents have done something in an effort to affect public policy. The most common action, at 54 percent, was contacting an elected official.
The full results of the survey will appear in the April issue of Boating Industry.
We asked readers about some of their specific concerns. Here is some of what they had to say:
“Obamacare caused drastic rate increases in premiums and steep decreases in benefits, resulting in less money to spend by the consumer.”
“Fuel diurnal requirements have priced some boat models out of reach of blue collar workers.”
“The cost of compliance and the increase in tax rates has created a financial burden in an already weak industry.”
“The constant regulations to engines does nothing but raise the costs of the engines.”
“My operation is very small so compliance costs for following and documenting compliance to environmental regulations can be onerous.”
“Ethanol has given boating a bad name with many unhappy consumers.”
“The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is making it very difficult to maintain our current level of employees.”
“Fuel system regulations have increased our costs per boat an average of $1,200. We have to pass these on to the buyers.”
“The E15 option will cause major problems with the reliability of outboards. Less reliable means more people leaving boating.”
“They have no idea what it takes to run a business, so they couldn’t care less about what these things cost our industry.”
“Ethanol is a huge problem, followed closely by the banking regulations that are making small business financing very difficult.”
“Over regulation on all aspects of business.”