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 week on BoatingIndustry.com.
1. NMMA: Powerboat registrations up 6.3 percent in 2016
New powerboat registrations were up 6.3 percent through December 2016, NMMA reported in its latest New Powerboat Registrations Report.
According to the report, the tow boat segment posted the highest growth, up 11.8 percent. Other strong segments included pontoon (up 9.2 percent), saltwater fishing (up 7.9 percent) and personal watercraft (up 7.4 percent).
2. Georgia House passes tax break for boat repairs
Any boat repairs of more than $500,000 would be exempt from Georgia sales tax under a bill passed by the Georgia House.
Supporters of the bill say it will help bring larger boat and yacht repair businesses to the state. It is similar to an existing tax break in neighboring Florida.
3. Senators weigh in on Billfish Conservation Act
Conservationists and anglers are praising a bill by U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) that seeks to clear the way for full implementation of a landmark law to raise protections for billfish, the American Sportfishing Association reports.
The Billfish Conservation Act was lauded when it was signed into law in 2012, but a slight ambiguity in the wording of the original legislation prevented it from being implemented as intended by the federal government, industry associations say.
The Billfish Conservation Act banned the importation of all billfish caught by foreign fleets into the continental United States and, perhaps most importantly, set an example for other countries to pursue similar conservation efforts once thought impossible. However, questions arose over whether the same prohibitions on foreign caught billfish imposed by the bill also applied to billfish caught commercially in Hawaii. If commercially caught billfish could be transported from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, it would circumvent the intent of the conservation measure. The legislation clarifies that billfish landed in Hawaii must be retained there.
4. Linda McMahon confirmed as SBA administrator
The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Linda E. McMahon as the 25th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Small businesses are the engine of our national economy,” McMahon said upon her confirmation. “I will work to revitalize a spirit of entrepreneurship in America. Small businesses want to feel they can take a risk on an expansion or a new hire without fearing onerous new regulations or unexpected taxes, fees and fines that will make such growth unaffordable. We want to renew optimism in our economy.”
5. Trump administration aims to roll back Obama’s climate, water rules
President Trump is preparing executive orders aimed at curtailing Obama-era policies on climate and water pollution, the Washington Post reports.
Among the issues being targeted is water policy rules that have created uncertainty thanks to two Supreme Court decisions, in 2001 and 2006, over which bodies of water fall under the federal government’s jurisdiction, the paper reported.
The current rule gives the federal government latitude to protect wetlands and smaller tributaries. Hunting and angling groups have expressed support for that rule, while other groups, such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, have argued that the restrictions raise the cost of doing business.