MIASF addresses boating issues at ABC May 18, 2016
By Patience Cohn
This month MIASF participated in the annual American Boating Congress in Washington, D.C. with other trade organizations and boating businesses from around the country. This large collective group serves an important role in educating our legislators and regulatory agencies on the importance of recreational boating in America and the jobs it supports.
The long list of issues that made up the talking points for the delegates included several directly related to South Florida. MIASF’s focus was on Longshore Relief, support of HR 436 and several other options to correct the interpretation of the current rule are being pursued. Thanks to the leadership of Representative Lois Frankel, we had the opportunity to witness forward motion during our the time in Washington and are optimistic at this point that a resolution is possible. We also took the opportunity while together with our representatives to emphasize the importance of the navigability of our waterways and remind them that the resolution achieved by the U.S. Coast Guard and the operation of the FEC railroad bridge is only a temporary fix. The need for infrastructure improvements in the form of a raised bridge over the river and a station and track over Broward Boulevard are critical to our community if the commuter train concept is to be a success in the downtown corridor.
The creation of Foreign Trade Zones within shipyards and marinas of Broward County was mentioned to relative representatives, although the project continues to move forward and should be complete without the need for legislative input.
MIASF also has partnered with NMMA to work with the national labor statistics at the Department of Labor to better identify the workers in the recreational marine industry. The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC code) is currently under review and will be updated in 2018. Better identification of our industry will help with better understanding of its economic importance in the future. This SOC issue was part of a workforce issue workshop at ABC, and Patience Cohn represented MIASF on the panel.
Prior to ABC, there was a meeting of the National Marine Trades Association. This organization is made up of all the national trade associations, and the meeting is an opportunity to discuss strategies and successes so we can work together to help our businesses be strong and profitable. The number one success experienced by several associations this year was to institute exhibitor training to help improve the experience at their boat shows for both the businesses and the consumer. Workforce training continues to be a priority and a couple of states reported success in grant writing to fund training development.
This year’s trip to Washington was of great value to MIASF and the boating industry as a whole. Members are encouraged to consider being part of next year’s delegation.