The BI Weekly 5 is a collection of tips, news and data affecting the boating industry this week. Be sure to look for the BI Weekly 5 every Tuesday on BoatingIndustry.com.
1. GE Capital speeds up sales process
GE plans to finish the divestiture of its GE Capital division earlier than expected, CEO Jeff Immelt told a group of investors.
The company now expects the process to be mostly completed by the end of 2016 instead of 2017 as originally targeted, Immelt told the Electrical Products Group investor conference on Wednesday.
He said the company estimates it will sell about $100 billion of the $200 billion GE Capital assets this year, with deals for $20 billion to $30 billion targeted by the end of the second quarter, Reuters reported.
2. Rubio reintroduces Florida Fisheries Improvement Act
Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has brought back his Florida Fisheries Improvement Act, taking steps toward the eventual reauthorization of Magnuson-Stevens.
“Florida’s fisheries are a national treasure that provide direct and indirect benefits to our local, state and national economies by feeding Americans across the country and boosting tourism in our coastal communities,” Rubio said. “While there is more work to be done, this bill would ensure necessary improvements to management and data collection are made to fully optimize our fisheries and help advance Florida’s interests when it comes time to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”
The House Natural Resources Commitee passed its version of Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization earlier this month, a bill that the White House has threatened to veto if it passes the Senate.
3. California oil spill threatens fishing, boating
Video and pictures showing oil-covered water and beaches is never a good thing for the boating industry (just ask dealers along the Gulf Coast). So there will certainly be some impact from the oil pipeline leak near Santa Barbara, Calif.
The extent to which it will hurt the local wildlife and community is being debated, but some biologists expect damage to the local bird community, fish, plant life and more.
4. New Connecticut boating laws awaiting governor’s signature
A set of new boating safety rules have passed Connecticut’s House and Senate in the wake of a high-profile accident in 2014.
Known as “Emily’s Law,” after a 16-year-old killed in a boating accident last summer, the bill would require drivers be at least 16 years old, have passed a boating safety course and have a safe-towing certificate.
5. Georgia boating licenses up in wake of law change
After mandatory boating education passed in Georgia, boating licenses are on the upswing, the state reported.
There were 5,032 licenses issued in 2014, the first year to require education for those born in 1998 or later, up from 3,676 in 2013.