Legislative Updates

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced plans to downlist the West Indian manatee from endangered to a less-serious status of threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Service has asked for public comment on the issue, and time is running out to make your voice heard!

April 6th is the last day to submit your comments here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R4-ES-2015-0178-0001.

For more information on this issue, click the links below to download these supplementary documents:

West Indian Manatee Risk Management

West Indian Manatee Habitat

West Indian Manatee Carrying Capacity

Save the Manatee Club Position

Recreational boating means business in Southwest Florida! It brings money, jobs, commerce and enjoyment to thousands of families living in our area.

Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties

Total Annual Economic Impact: $877.1 Million

Number of Industry Businesses: 551

Recreational Boating Provides Jobs

  • Direct Jobs: 3,458
  • Indirect Jobs: 1,280
  • Induced Jobs: 2,307

Total Boating Related Jobs: 7,045

Annual Income of Boating Related Jobs: $293.3

MillionAnnual Boating-Related Spending: $366.5 Million

Annual Recreational Boating Industry Sales

  • Manufacturing Sales: $143.3 Million
  • Retail and Service Sales: $732.9 Million

Number of Boats: 61,673 which equates to approximately one boat for every 6 households making our area #1 per capita for boat ownership.

Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties

Total Annual Economic Impact: $1.24 Billion

Number of Industry Businesses: 736

Recreational Boating Provides Jobs

  • Direct Jobs: 4,896
  • Indirect Jobs: 1,804
  • Induced Jobs: 3,244

Total Boating Related Jobs: 9,944

Annual Income of Boating Related Jobs: $412.2 Million

Annual Boating-Related Spending: $517 Million

Annual Recreational Boating Industry Sales

  • Manufacturing Sales: $743.3 Million
  • Retail and Services Sales: $1.32 Billion

Number of Boats: 93,793 which equates to approximately one boat for every 8 households.

All data is from the National Marine Manufacturing Association’s Center of Knowledge, Recreational Marine Research Center at Michigan State University.

On June 24, 2013 the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on the E15 case in which NMMA is involved. The case, brought by the Engine Products Group (EPG,) a coalition of organizations that includes NMMA, sought to block the EPA decision to allow E15 into the U.S. fuel supply. Other coalition members include the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and the Association of Global Automakers, Inc. (Global Automakers).

The case was previously dismissed in a U.S. Court of Appeals decision, due to “lack of standing.” The EPG appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which in turn, denied hearing the case.

Nicole Vasilaros, Director of Regulatory and Legal Affairs, says “While we are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari on the E15 case in which NMMA is involved, we are committed to continuing our work against mid-level ethanol blends on behalf of the recreational boating industry. Through legislative action and research surrounding alternative biofuels, NMMA continues the fight against the harmful effects of E15. NMMA is also currently involved in a misfueling case that was set aside pending this review. We look forward to any next steps the misfueling case may also provide to protect the recreational boating industry and its consumers.

Read more here. For more information, please contact Nicole Vasilaros at [email protected] or 202-737-9763.

NMMA’s BoatPAC hosted political fundraisers for Congressman Andy Harris (MD-01) on Monday, June 3rd, and Congressman Mike McIntyre (NC-07) on Monday, June 17th, on a chartered boat in Washington, D.C. The events provided an opportunity to highlight the recreational boating industry and support each Congressman’s reelection campaigns. The two are members of the Congressional Boating Caucus and both Congressmen were pleased to be on the water during a busy congressional schedule. Fundraising for Congressional contacts provides NMMA with an important opportunity to maintain relationships while showcasing the industry’s product in action.
Questions? Contact Denny Salas at [email protected] or 202-737-9769.
Last week Representative Candice Miller (R-MI-10) introduced H.R. 2273, the Great Lakes Navigation Last week Representative Candice Miller (R-MI-10) introduced H.R. 2273, the Great Lakes Navigation System Sustainability Act. NMMA sent Representative Miller a letter in support of her bill, applauding the legislation’s establishment of a single, comprehensive Great Lakes Navigation System (GLNS) for budgeting purposes that it will consolidate all the individually authorized commercial and recreational navigation projects in the Great Lakes into a unified entity to ensure adequate funding. The legislation also creates a program to help reduce the harbor maintenance backlog. We are especially supportive of language in the bill that definitively acknowledges the great economic impact recreational boating provides to the Great Lakes as well as the rest of the nation. NMMA is always looking for ways to encourage the Army Corps to recognize the economic benefits of recreational boating and fishing in its metric for allocating critical dredging funds and the Miller bill takes a great step toward this goal. The hope is that with enough political support the Miller bill will be incorporated into a House version of WRDA and passed into law. This would be a huge step forward in addressing the critical dredging needs across the Great Lakes. It is not yet clear when the House will introduce its own version of WRDA, but House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman, Bill Shuster (R-PA-9) has indicated that introducing a House version is his top priority and that the public should see some movement on this issue this summer.

For more information, contact Jeff Gabriel at [email protected] or 202-737-9776.

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has reached out to NMMA for input on a draft bill that the Senator is hoping to introduce, that would significantly amend the Renewable Fuel Standard. The draft would eliminate the reliance on corn-based ethanol, and would require the National Academy of Science to study and review the many problems associated with mid-level ethanol blends. NMMA is eager to be directly engaged with the Senator in the hopes of bringing some balance to the RFS and its presently unrealistic regime.

For more information, contact Jeff Gabriel at [email protected] or 202-737-9776.

On July 24, 2013, Thomas J. Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, will discuss the state of the U.S recreational boating industry from 2 to 3 p.m. in Room 1310 of the Longworth House Office Building. This informative session will prepare Representatives as they return to their districts for the height of the summer boating season.

Despite fundamental challenges to the U.S. economy over the past several years, recreational boat building remains a largely American enterprise, providing high-paying jobs to highly-skilled employees throughout the nation. The recreational boating industry generated an estimated $121 billion in value in 2012. The industry’s rising tide supports 964,000 American jobs and 34,833 businesses, generates $40 billion in annual labor income and drives $83 billion in annual spending.

NMMA welcomes members to attend this meeting if available.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jeff Gabriel, at [email protected] or 202-737-9776.

President Obama and European leaders recently announced the formal launch of U.S.-European Union negotiations for a trade and investment deal on the margins of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland. The first round of talks will take place the week of July 8 in Washington, the White House said in a fact sheet.

In a joint press conference, Obama joined European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in emphasizing that the U.S.-EU trade negotiations will be challenging, with sensitive issues on both sides. But Obama said the negotiations will be a priority for him and his administration.

Obama said that broad support for the negotiations on both sides of the Atlantic, including in the U.S. Congress and among U.S. business groups, will help negotiators work through the tough issues. Obama also stressed that the U.S.-EU trade negotiations must be part of a comprehensive strategy on both sides of the Atlantic to promote growth and jobs. “Trade is critical but it is not alone a silver bullet,” he said.

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, who also participated in the press conference as host of the G-8 summit, cited estimates that the deal could add as much as $157 billion to the EU economy, $126 billion to the U.S. economy, and $134 billion to the economy of the rest of the world. The first round of negotiations next month will be followed by two more sessions this year in mid-October and December.

A bill that would allow new boat buyers to only pay sales tax on the difference between the sales price and the value of their trade-in passed the House by a vote of 100-7. While most observers believe there are enough votes in the Senate for passage, Senate leaders have set no date to bring the bill up for a vote. NMMA continues to support HB 4234, which extends the same tax policy to the purchase of new cars.
NMMA Economic Overview, formerly Boating News Net, is a monthly report on boating and economic markets featuring industry and general economic indicators that impact your business.

U.S. Economic Indicators


In its final estimate, GDP growth in the first quarter was downwardly revised to 1.8% (from 2.4%) yet nonetheless stronger than the 0.4% growth recorded the quarter prior. Inventory investment (especially in manufacturing and farming) and consumer spending (although downwardly revised from the previous estimate) had turned up in Q1. That was offset by a slowdown in business investment in buildings, equipment, and software.
(Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Consumer confidence continued to rise in June (up for the third consecutive month) to 81.4, the highest show of confidence since 2 months into the recession. Both short-term outlooks and current assessments were considerably more upbeat. The expectations index improved by 9 points suggesting that consumer confidence will continue to rise.
(Source: The Conference Board)

CEO confidence continued to improve in the second quarter, posting another 8-point increase in Q2. CEO’s outlook on both current and short-term business conditions were more upbeat. 60 percent of respondents says current economic conditions are better than they were six months ago and expect further improvement in the next six months. Globally, sentiments on Europe were relatively unchanged while assessments of business conditions in the U.S. and Japan generally improved.

(Source: The Conference Board)

195,000 jobs were added to payrolls in June, the third consecutive month of job creation nearing 200,000. Although the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6%, more people were looking for work which was a good sign. Average hourly earnings grew 2.0% YOY in June, outpacing inflation at an annualized 1.75%. The broader (U-6) unemployment rate which includes discouraged workers had fallen to a 4.5-year low 13.8% in May but increased in June to 14.3%.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Retail sales rose in June for the third consecutive month, up 0.4% to $423B (but below expectations of 0.8%). While consumers continued to spend on auto, furniture, and clothes, they’d cut back on purchases at restaurants, electronics stores, and general merchandise stores. Excluding auto, retail sales were up 0.2%.

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

The PMI rebounded in June following one month in contraction as new orders and production picked up. Employment, however, contracted for the first time since September, 2009. This reflects, in part, the European recession’s dampening effect on U.S. manufacturing exports.
(Source: Institute for Supply Management)

Housing starts rose 7% in May to an annualized 914K units, up 29% from a year ago. The increase was mostly driven by a 25% surge in construction of multifamily units reflecting an increase in demand for rental options. Meanwhile, building permits for single family homes rose by 1.8% to a five-year seasonally-adjusted, annualized high 622K.
Existing single-family home sales rose 5% to a near four-year high 4.6M in May. The inventory of available existing homes for sale dropped to a 5.1-month supply in May and is unlikely to grow unless new home construction ramps up quickly by an additional 50% according to the NAR. Buyer traffic is up 29% from a year ago and the median time on market for homes is at a record low.
New home sales continued to grow in May to a near five-year high 476K, up 29% from a year ago. Growing households, pent-up demand, and a limited supply of homes continue to put upward pressure on home prices. Mortgage rates have accordingly risen and most economists don’t expect that to impede the housing recovery.

(Source: National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau)

Boat Manufacturers Economic Indicators

Wholesale shipments of traditional powerboats grew 12.8% (YOY) in May for NMMA’s control group of manufacturers. Calendar year to date, shipments were up 2% (YOY) overall while corresponding dollars were up 8.5% and average prices were up 13.2% (R12M YOY). Wholesale shipments of skiboats and aluminum outboards continue to rise in 2013 (up 13.2% and 6.2% YTD YOY respectively.) Together, they represent the bulk of traditional powerboats sold at wholesale and offset slowdowns in all other boat segments (which were coming off highs in 2012.) Cruiser volumes grew for the first time in 2013 (up 2.4% YOY in May) and while volumes were down 13.4% YTD compared to the prior year, production was still at the second highest level recorded since 2010.

(Source: NMMA Dashboard)

Through the first quarter, estimates of traditional powerboat retail sales were up 4.3% (R12M YOY) with continued strength in sales of smaller boats (skiboats, outboard boats, jetboats, and pwcs up 9.4%, 4.8%, 27%, and 7.5% R12M YOY respectively) offsetting declines in sales of other traditional powerboat segments. Registrations of new boats were up (R12M YOY) across all regions, ranging from 1.7% to 11.8%. The South Atlantic region (which spans the Atlantic Coast from Delaware south to Florida and represents 24.3% of the market), led sales among the high-volume regions and was up 5.2%. Relative to wholesale shipments, retail sales of aluminum outboards (the majority of which are pontoons), turned down (on a R12M basis) for the first time in 4 quarters, suggesting dealers are starting to replenish inventories after consecutive quarters of running lean. Advance data indicates sales were up 6% (R12M YOY) through May for bellwether states.
(Source: NMMA New Powerboat Registrations Report, Info-Link)

Recreational boat and marine engine exports were down 7.9% totaling $2.2B for the rolling 12 months through May. Corresponding imports were down 9.4% totaling $2.0B. The trade surplus totaled $244.8M.

(Source: NMMA Export/Import Abstract)

For more information on working with news media on inquiries related to the state of the recreational boating industry, please contact NMMA’s Vicky Yu.