New Carter and Peltola Bill Invests in Marine Technology and Protects Boaters and Coastal Economies

This week, Representatives Buddy Carter (R– GA-01)  Mary Peltola (D-AK) introduced a bipartisan bill (H.R. 8704) to delay National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) proposed speed restrictions for boats 35-65 feet through 2030, while establishing a longer-term grant program to invest in technologies and efforts that reduce the risk of marine mammal vessel strikes.

The bill would prohibit NOAA from issuing a rule that modifies or replaces the current North Atlantic right whale vessel strike reduction rule until 2031. The bill would establish a grant program for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to work with stakeholders, like the recreational boating industry, to research, test, and deploy marine technologies that reduce vessel strike risk. This builds upon the recent announcement that NOAA is providing $6 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding to NFWF to support these efforts.

“We applaud Representatives Carter and Peltola for continuing to champion bipartisan legislation that would protect the North Atlantic right whale, boater safety, and American jobs while providing critical investments toward marine technologies,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, President and CEO of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “Advanced marine technologies can better protect the North Atlantic right whale than NOAA’s archaic and economically damaging vessel speed rule, and this bipartisan legislation is the perfect example of members of Congress coming together to solve a conservation challenge in a thoughtful and effective way. We encourage members of Congress to send this bill to the President’s desk as quickly as possible.”

Under NOAA’s proposed expansion of the rule, all boats 35 feet and greater cannot travel faster than 10 knots (11 mph) within a vast area extending from Massachusetts to central Florida, for up to 7 months out of the year and in some places up to 90 miles offshore. NMMA continues to highlight the destructive impact the proposed rule would have on boater safety, businesses, and coastal communities. Just this week, the Nantucket Current published an article covering the potential economic harm that could face the island: “Legislative Efforts To Stop Proposed Vessel Speed Restriction Emerge In Congress.

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee is holding a legislative hearing today, at 9:30 a.m. EST, on the bill as well as others, including H.R. 7925, the Modernizing Access to Our Public Oceans Act – which would digitize information about federal waterways and restrictions to improve recreational boaters’ and anglers’ ability to access federal waterways.

 "I am grateful to the House Committee on Natural Resources leadership for their focus on important policies that together will provide recreational boaters with more tools to responsibly recreate on our nations high seas while pausing the proposed amendments to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Speed Rule, which stands to have devastating impacts on the entirety of the recreational boating industry,” said Jeff Strong, President of Strong’s Marine and Chairman of the MRAA Board of Directors. “The MAPOceans Act and H.R. 8704 are critically important pieces of legislation for recreational marine dealers and boaters alike, and I cannot thank Representatives D’Esposito and Levin, and Carter and Peltola respectively, enough for their focus and leadership on these two crucial bills. Finding the right balance between conservation and access is imperative in ensuring the health of coastal communities, small businesses like mine, and cherished marine mammals and the provision put forth during today’s hearing carefully finds that balance.”

NMMA will continue closely monitoring the bills’ progress through Congress and highlighting the industry’s priorities. All those impacted by the proposed NOAA vessel speed rule are encouraged to contact their member of Congress here:

Those looking to learn more about NOAA’s proposed regulation can visit

For more information, please contact NMMA vice president of government relations, Callie Hoyt at [email protected].