From the Captain’s Chair: 2017 Year in Review December 20, 2017
2017 has been a productive year for your Marine Industries Association of South Florida. There are many accomplishments of which you can be proud, including modernizing the association by-laws, the activation of sites within the first-ever recreational marine foreign trade zone; the purchase of a new 10,000 square foot, two-story headquarters adjacent to the New River in the downtown historic district of Fort Lauderdale; the execution of a long-term lease at Bahia Mar to secure the future of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show; the successful growth of local community events, like the Broward County Waterway Cleanup, Plywood Regatta, and Marine Industry Day; and the progress of the Marine Research Hub of South Florida.
MIASF worked closely with our new partners, Informa Global Exhibitions, on changes to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show that made a positive impact on the experience of exhibitors and visitors, including changing the show days to Wednesday through Sunday, and upgrading the flooring, electrical systems, docks, wi-fi, and security, to name a few.
Heading into 2018, we are monitoring specific legislative issues on the state level and policies on the federal level that have the potential to positively or negatively impact our industry. We are monitoring bills that have been filed in the Florida Legislature related to the salvage of pleasure vessels sponsored by Senator Dana Young and Rep. Shawn Harrison; an appropriation request for the Marine Research Hub of South Florida filed by Rep. Holly Raschein, and an in-depth report by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) requested by Senator Wilton Simpson; as well as opportunities to revisit the sales tax cap on refit and repairs. We will continue to be involved with Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. State Department in finding a solution to crew visas being denied, and working to modify the North American Industry Classification System to include marine industry data. We will also remain engaged with our local elected officials and government agencies on infrastructure, transportation, and navigational issues that are important for our community and industry to thrive.
In addition to many of the traditional forms of media, this coming year MIASF will be embarking on a path of discovery for the production of a national broadcast program that would allow people to discover and experience the excitement of boating – much like that of comparative industries that support Going RV by Great American Country and home renovations television shows by HGTV.
We are ever mindful that other geographic areas look strongly at opportunities to liberate the marine industry from South Florida, and we must be vigilant in keeping our collaborative nature in tact for the collective good. We look forward to all of us working together to grow boating!
Best wishes for a very happy and healthy New Year!