By Bill Yeargin
If you lead an organization and care about the boating industry, you need to join me May 8-10 in
Washington D.C. at the American Boating Congress (ABC). It may be the single best way you can help our industry and your business.
ABC is a unique opportunity to meet with congressional leaders, congressional staff, and others from the industry to discuss issues that are or could affect boating. ABC also features speakers who discuss key policy priorities and challenges impacting our industry. An engaging line-up of savvy experts will also be available to answer industry and policy-specific questions affecting marine businesses.
It is important that you be at ABC to advocate for our industry. Research and experience teach us that no lobbyist is as influential as an employer, business owner, CEO, or another leader from a member of Congress’ district or state. Attending ABC to learn about the issues and then going to Capitol Hill with others from your state is the best way to update representatives on matters that affect your business. These meetings help elected officials understand your position before they vote on issues that affect our industry.
Even if you don’t have a worrying imminent issue, you need to be there. The recreational boating industry is an ecosystem; legislation or regulation that adversely impacts one segment of our industry will eventually adversely affect the entire industry.
This year we will kick off ABC Monday, May 8, at a reception hosted by BOATPAC. Tuesday, May 9, we will hear from outstanding speakers and experts who will educate us. Wednesday, May 10, we will visit Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill to share our view of important issues in our industry. There will also be a Product Showcase where marine manufacturers and other NMMA member companies will demonstrate the latest and greatest innovations in the pursuit of a more enjoyable and sustainable boating experience. Finally, ABC will feature a panel discussion of industry leaders in the next-generation marine fuel and technology space to discuss the exciting opportunities for our industry. It is a jammed pack agenda.
So, how specifically how can you benefit from attending ABC? To start, you will:
- hear from elected officials, policymakers, and distinguished speakers.
- learn about the key issues impacting boating and what we should do to protect boaters and our industry.
- meet elected officials to discuss your policy concerns.
- speak directly with policymakers in your Congressional district.
- learn more about the Congressional process and how to stay involved year-round.
- join your peers from all segments of the industry to ensure a healthy future for recreational boating.
And, this is the best part, you don’t need to be an expert in government affairs. You will learn everything you need to know at the event, and ABC staff will provide you with the opportunities and tools you need to impact. You will be armed with the information you need to make your visit to Capitol Hill successful. And, if it’s your first time to ABC, don’t worry about speaking or being an expert on the issues; an ABC staffer will be with you; your presence alone will impact lawmakers.
Over the years, I have visited many offices on Capitol Hill and can vouch personally for the impact it makes when a business leader shows up to meet them. Elected leaders and their staff want to hear from you. Please join us; it will positively impact our industry, your business, and you personally.
To register for the American Boating Congress, go to https://www.nmma.org/advocacy/take-action/abc.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Bill Yeargin is President and CEO of Correct Craft and serves as Board Chair of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.