NMMA Foundation Awards Captain Fred Gamboa of Point Pleasant, NJ with the 2024 Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award

Captain Fred Gamboa, a charter boat captain from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, has been awarded the 2024 Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Foundation for Recreational Boating Safety, Education and Environmental Awareness during the American Boating Congress (ABC) conference.

The Hammond Award is given to individuals who help grow and protect the recreational boating industry and have demonstrated dedication to the long-term health of the industry, such as achieving greater sales, stopping unwanted government regulations or seeking needed government regulation, or otherwise helping and benefiting the entire marine industry as distinct from building one’s own company.

“Captain Fred Gamboa is a strong advocate for the recreational boating and fishing community, and we are pleased to recognize his dedication to our industry with the 2024 Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of NMMA. “Captain Gamboa’s ongoing efforts to educate Congress and the Administration about the incredible harm the misguided NOAA vessel speed rule will have on recreational boating and coastal communities is admirable and embodies everything the Hammond Award stands for. We are honored to recognize Captain Gamboa as a champion for our industry.”

“I encourage my fellow boaters to get involved and help make a difference,” said Captain Gamboa. “It is in all of our best interests to protect our rights and to continue to be stewards of the sea.”

For more than 20 years, Captain Gamboa has owned and operated Andreas Toy Charters. He is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Mariner and his organization and talented captains are a top tagging boat for Gray’s Fishtag Research Northeast Striped Bass Tagging Program. He has participated in numerous Bluefin tuna tagging projects, including a Bluefin fin-clip study with the University of Maine. He has served as an advisor to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

In 2022, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed an expansion of the 2008 North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule. The proposed expansion of the 2008 rule puts a blanket speed restriction (10 knots, approx. 11 mph) on boats over 35 feet in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida for up to seven months out of the year.

On June 6, 2023, Captain Gamboa testified before Congress in a House Natural Resources Committee Hearing on “Examining the Impacts of the NOAA's Proposed Changes to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule.”

During the hearing, Captain Gamboa said, “If these regulations were to be enacted, the ripple effect would be felt throughout the entire community. Local businesses heavily reliant on the influx of visitors and tourists, including restaurants, tackle shops, and hotels, would suffer a substantial decline in revenue. Consequently, the economic vitality of the entire region would be compromised, leading to job losses and a decline in the quality of life for many residents.”

Captain Gamboa concluded his testimony by urging Congress to “...recognize the gravity of this issue and grant us the necessary time to develop comprehensive solutions. The consequences of the proposed rule demand thoughtful evaluation and exploration of alternative approaches. By doing so, we can protect our marine ecosystems, support our economy, and ensure the long-term sustainability of recreational boating and fishing through businesses like mine.”

If finalized, the rule is poised to significantly impact the recreational boating and fishing industry and the Atlantic coastal economies that depend on boating, tourism, and access to the Atlantic Ocean. Captain Gamboa's ongoing efforts to champion the recreational boating industry before lawmakers and regulators raises awareness about the potential consequences the rule will impose on the more than $230 billion recreational boating sector.