Industry Gathers to Address Hot Topics at Republican, Democratic National Conventions

In one of the most memorable election years to-date, recreational boating will take a seat at the table, as Republicans and Democrats seek to confirm their Presidential nominees and prepare for the remainder of the election cycle. NMMA will host a “Day on the Water” event at both Conventions, providing industry leaders a unique opportunity to meet with delegates, elected officials and industry stakeholders to tell the marine industry’s distinctive American story. RSVP by July 6 to attend (details below).

“These events provide a great opportunity to unite and educate members of Congress and elected officials on policies that affect the recreational boating industry in America and how their decisions directly impact maritime businesses,” said Nicole Vasilaros, Vice President, Federal and Legal Affairs. “Boating is not only a popular American pastime, but a significant economic driver for the U.S. The recreational boating industry supports thousands of businesses and jobs, and generates millions of American-made products throughout our country.”
Hot topics for recreational boating at the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions
Boating, an American Pastime
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, historically boating has always been one of America’s first and favorite pastimes. The wealth generated in the post-Civil War America, along with the growth of railroads, spurred the development of resorts, country homes, and the suburbs – all places to go boating. As the federal government began to construct large dams, reservoirs, and lake systems during the Depression, it added boating to the waterways. At the turn of the century, with the development of the single-operator motorboat and the outboard engine, the number of recreational boaters skyrocketed. By 1939, there were more than 300,000 boats operating in federal waters.*
And last year, there were nearly 12 million recreational boats registered and a reported 87 million boaters took to the water in the U.S. – one of the highest participation numbers on record.
Economic Impact
While recreational boating remains one of America’s favorite pastimes, it is also one of America’s most important economic drivers. In fact, marine manufacturing contributes to the creation of 650,014 jobs and 35,000 businesses with an overall economic impact of $121.5 billion. Today, the marine industry is still one of the few remaining American industries to rely almost solely on American made products, with 95% of boats sold in the US being made in the U.S. The boating industry is also one of the largest global net exporters of outboard boats and in the U.S. - 4 in 5 new boats sold are outboard boats. In 2015, the outboard boat export/import trade balance totaled $120.5M.
In Pennsylvania, recreational boating has created more than 570 businesses statewide and contributes $290.5 million to the local economy annually. In Ohio, more than 771 recreational businesses contribute $328.3 million annually.
Small Boating Businesses Make Big Local Impact
At both the RNC and DNC events, recreational boating industry leaders are showcasing their businesses and the positive ways that they impact the local economy and community every day.
Partners for the “Day on the Water” events, all which are contributing significantly to the industry’s growing economic impact, include Catawba Moorings, Correct Craft, Freedom Boat Club, HydroHoist, Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, Marine Max, Pier 53, PlasDECK Inc., Regulator, Riverfront Yacht Sales, Southshore Marine, SureShade, and Yamaha.
“The boating industry is a vital economic driver, not only for coastal communities, but for the nation as a whole,” says Martin Peters, Government Relations Manager, Yamaha Marine Group. “For example, Yamaha has facilities dedicated to the production, testing, and selling of boating products in Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, and Alabama. Furthermore, we have a network of 2,000 dealers nationwide, represented in all 50 states.  These products support hundreds of thousands of jobs and touch millions of consumers, all of whom look to politicians on both sides of the aisle to support and defend this great American pastime.”
Bill Yeargin, CEO of Correct Craft, notes, “Correct Craft is honored to represent the marine industry at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Correct Craft is one of the recreational boating industry’s largest companies with global operations. Our operations include five manufacturing plants in four states and two watersports parks in Florida. We employ nearly 1,000 people across the nation. At 91 years old, Correct Craft is known as a highly relational and integrity based company that strives to carry out our mission of “Making Life Better.” Our primary objective is to improve the lives of our customers, employees, their families, dealers, vendors, strategic partners, and friends. Additionally, our philanthropic efforts result in our team traveling the globe to serve those who can use our help.”
“Regulator is a family-owned company. My husband and I started it in 1988 and the success of our business today is the fulfillment of a dream – not only for us but for our 138 employees who are proud to make boats in North Carolina, our 15 dealers around the country, all of whom are also small, family-owned businesses , and the thousands of customers who enjoy quality time with their families aboard our boats! The boating industry is an excellent example of entrepreneurship at work, American craftsmanship, and quality products that allow millions to enjoy one of America’s greatest pastimes,” notes Joan Maxwell, Regulator Marine president. 
"I’ve been part of the Catawba Moorings’ management team from the start, in 1987. And the team hasn’t changed since! We employ 9 full-time staff members year-round and up to 20 full-time and part-time staff in season. We’re located on Lake Erie, one of the Five Great Lakes – so things get busy when boating season picks up. It’s important that all politicians, local and national, understand how much recreational boating benefits and impacts the economy in Ohio, but also nationally. Being a Regulator Marine dealer and having the opportunity to sell quality, made in America boats is a plus. We’re proud to offer our customers one of the best center console sportfishers in the world, made right here in the United States,” says Principal Rockey Piacentino, Catawba Moorings, Inc.
“In recent years, where water has become one of our more limited natural resources; Cleveland is home to one of the largest of the great lakes, Lake Erie, where the value of water is far beyond what can be measured in dollars,” states Lake Erie Marine Trades Association President Bryan Ralston. “We’re excited to partner with the NMMA to talk about how our waterways have impacted local Cleveland businesses through the rejuvenation of the downtown waterfront entertainment district known, the Flats. It had lost its popularity over the years and safety became a new concern, but through the redevelopment, new bars, restaurants and entertainment resettled there once again and generated a positive economic outcome for Cleveland’s travel/tourism and once again allowed recreational boating in the Flats to become mainstream once again.”
“The Delaware River offers an incredible market opportunity for boaters, manufacturers and the recreational boating industry as a whole,” shares Co-Founder Dana Rusikoff, SureShade. “We initially saw this city as an ideal location to create a business, with the 35 private boat clubs, 5,000 boaters and three public access points. In fact, we have expanded our business because of our choice to be here, doubled our workforce in a year and had a 47% increase in revenues. With the city of Philadelphia and the Delaware River City Corp.’s dedication of significant resources towards the redevelopment of 11 mile greenway along the Delaware waterway as a way to reconnect neighborhoods, we are making even further future plans for SureShade’s expansion. This city has a myriad of untapped potential recreational boating industry business opportunities.”
Advocacy and Safety Matters
This important election year marks a special opportunity to educate policy makers about how impactful the marine industry is to the nation’s economy. Any and all government actions at the local, state and federal level can contribute to and positively impact the boating industry. NMMA is dedicated to advocate and educate delegates about these key issues that impact the marine industry and educate the marine industry about government decisions that may impact businesses. Working together to have a strong voice about marine industry issues is critical. Working across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats alike is important to improving the industry’s economic outlook and growing the future of the recreational boating industry.
Republican National Convention
  • When: July 20 and July 21, 12 p.m.–3 p.m.
  • Where: North Coast Harbor Docks, 1010 E. 9th Street, Cleveland, Ohio, 44114
  • Complete details and to RSVP
Democratic National Convention
  • When: July 26, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
  • Where: Independence Seaport Museum, "Workshop on the Water" at Penn's Landing, 211 South Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
  • Complete details and to RSVP
RSVP by July 6, or contact Nicole Vasilaros,, (202) 737-9763 for more information, sponsorship opportunities or other ways to get involved.