More than 500 people turned out for two events highlighting the marine industry at last month's Democratic and Republican national conventions.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association hosted the events along with several other industry associations and companies with the goal of advancing the industry's key issues.
"It's an opportunity to highlight our industry in front of decision makers at the state, local and federal level," said Nicole Vasilaros, vice president of federal and legal affairs for NMMA. "It so happened that Cleveland and Philadelphia are waterfront cities, so we had the perfect opportunity to work with our manufacturers and local dealers to bring boats to the area and use that captive audience to tell our boating story."
NMMA and the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association hosted a two-day event July 20 and 21 at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The event drew about 300 people, including members of Congress, Congressional staff, local officials and other delegates. Several companies, including Correct Craft, Regulator, Yamaha, Catawba Moorings, Freedom Boat Club, HydroHoist, Pier 53, PlasDECK Inc., Riverfront Yacht Sales, Southshore Marine, and SureShade represented the industry at the event.
The Democratic National Convention "Day on the Water" took place July 26 in Philadelphia, with more than 225 attendees. Event partners included Correct Craft, Delaware River City Corporation, Freedom Boat Club, HydroHoist, MarineMax, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Regulator, SureShade and Yamaha. Boats were provided by Yamaha, SureShade (a Boston Whaler), and Nautique.
NMMA was "extremely happy" with both events, Vasilaros said.
"There was definitely some controversy surrounding both conventions, but for us … we had great turnout, people were really excited, we had perfect weather," she said. We were able to focus on our economic message, which was really our key goal. We really wanted to highlight that economic, U.S. manufacturing message."
NMMA and others in the industry also took part in larger transportation events emphasizing the role of boating in transportation issues, Vasilaros said.
"The more we continue to get out there and have our voice heard ... that really helps us to be successful," in advocacy efforts, Vasilaros said.