Advocacy Report May 2022
By: MIASF Staff
Date posted: Jun 02, 2022 Thu
Last month the American Boating Congress (ABC) was held in Washington, D.C. This year’s event, which MIASF was a co-host of, returned to its traditional in-person format for this annual national legislative meeting since 2020. Lori Wheeler and Patience Cohn joined MIASF lobbyist, Duncan Smith, for a series of appointments which included a visit to Congressman Ted Deutch’s office to thank him and his team for their support and help over his tenure. After Representative Mast spoke to the entire delegation, MIASF met with the Congressman to discuss his comments in the current USCG Authorization Bill addressing the operation of bridges in South Florida. It was encouraging to hear his support of the marine industry and his desire to see fair use of the waterways. The remaining time in D.C. was spent attending meetings with the staff of Senators Tammy Baldwin and Marco Rubio, and John Rayfield, Staff Director at Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. The marathon of meetings concluded with an introduction to RDML Wayne Arguin who is taking command of the division responsible for the US flag 300gt regulation. The meeting also presented the opportunity to meet LCDR Mike Metz who is replacing LCDR Pete Bizzaro on the project.
Leadership of the National Marine Trades Council organized a social event for approximately 30 of its members to come together to mingle and discuss their area specific projects and challenges. The Marine Retailers Association of America has applied for a national grant to support marine related apprentice programs, which would help expand individual programs like our Yacht Service Technician Apprenticeship Program.
While not holding in person meetings, MIASF was able to engage with the Department of State staff the following week to discuss the concerns about the availability of visa appointments at consulates as many still operate under restricted hours and prioritized appointments. The staff did note that the renewal of visas without an interview are possible if the application is submitted while in the home country of the applicant. Notes from this meeting are available in the Member Reports Library on our website in your Membership Portal.
An additional Team’s meeting was held with the Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection to discuss the entry issues because of the lack of appointment availability. The one-time waiver request or arriving on ESTA by commercial carrier (if qualified) are the two best alternatives currently available. It was pointed out that arriving at U.S. ports with familiarity with yacht crew is the best opportunity to engage with an officer with substantial industry knowledge as the decision authority belongs to the entry officer. We also discussed the recent language change that states, “Yacht crew who will provide services on board a recreational vessel, who are able to establish that they have a residence abroad which they do not intend to abandon, regardless of the nationality of the yacht are classifiable B-1.” MIASF has extended an invitation to a representative from CBP in Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual Captain and Crew Panel during FLIBS this October to provide an opportunity for direct questions and answers on this topic.