The American Boating Congress is the industry’s premier political and legislative event that takes place in Washington D.C. that brings together those who work in the recreational boating industry. This is an opportunity to review legislative and political actions that will effect the boating industry.
Topics for review include ethanol, access, recreational fishing, deferred importation, invasive species, trade, WRDA (Water Resources Development Act), workforce development, state issues, The Federal Agenda, and additional legislation for the upcoming year.
A run down on the briefings:
Ethanol: E15 Hurts Boating. The American Boating Congress asks Congress to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard and protect recreational marine products and consumers. The widespread use has caused engine failure at fuel ratios above 10 percent, land degradation from over farming, including nutrient enrichment of waterways like the Gulf of Mexico, and higher food prices for feed and other food stuffs, according to the National Marine Manufactures Association ( NMMA)
Access: The protection of recreational boating and fishing access at parks such as Biscayne National Park, and marine sanctuaries and to improve recreational activities across all federally-owned and operated lands and waterways. The federally managed waters should be maintained for the use and enjoyment of the public for generations to come. Any future management plan should take into account the economic and societal value of recreational boating and fishing, while appreciating the industry’s role in conservation, preservation and environmental stewardship, from The American Boating Congress.
Recreational Fishing: Revised approach to salt water fishing management, reasonable latitude in stock rebuilding timelines, process for cooperative management, and management for the forage base are topics that will be covered.
Deferred Importation: The Florida Yacht Brokers Association (FYBA) requests a legislative support to pass HR 4065 removing current restrictions in the cruising license that forbids offering used foreign flagged boats for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters. Florida’s marine industry is a &17.2 billion market sector, supporting 202,000 jobs in the state of Florida. A cruising license normally valid for one year is obtained from U.S. customs and Border Protection at the first port of arrival in the U.S. and exempts pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures.
Aquatic Invasive Species: Each year fishing, boating, and tourism are harmed by invasive species. Infestation by AIS can shutdown boater access to waterways and decimate local economies. Boaters, manufacturers and the government must work together to tackle this growing issue.
Trade: Issues that will be discussed include those a part of Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Asia-Pacific region, Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the U.S. and European Union, and Cuba.
WRDA: Water Resources and Development Act including ports, channels, locks, damn, and other infrastructure that support out maritime and waterway transportation system and provide flood protection for our homes and businesses.
Workforce Development: The U.S. recreational marine industry faces a shortage of well trained and qualified workers. To combat the lack of skilled professionals and build a thriving workforce, access to career and technical education must be increased.
State Issues: Topics vary year to year, but typically these state issues include access, business mandates, taxes, environmental mandates, E-15, and towed water sports.
The Federal Agenda: This 2016 legislative agenda outlines the top priorities towards ensuring federal policies that support domestic marine manufacturing and the 650,000 jobs and 35,000 businesses it provides. These topics include fuel policy, Magnuson Stevens Act and recreational fishing, trade and commerce, and public access.
Additional Legislation: Other legislative topics that will be considered and discussed include Fiscal year 2017 budget, and the Personal Health Investment Today Act – which would expand the definition of a medical expense in regards to water sport related injuries.
For full PDF’s of the briefings, exclusive webinars, and more information about the ABC please visit the link below