Kudos to the MRAA Board of Directors — they have adopted a series of recommendations presented by the Advisory Council of Marine Associations. In all, there were four recommendations that came out of the ACMA meetings in Orlando in November. But the one that reportedly drew the liveliest discussion centered on the question: What’s happened to the 85 percent of the engine assessment Grow Boating money – funds that were promised to be spent to directly assist dealers in selling boats?
In essence, the ACMA attendees indicated they had so far been unable to determine how, or even if, the pledged funds have been spent. Moreover, the promised transparency regarding the expenditure of Grow Boating funds has not materialized as pledged by the boat builders.
Collection of the engine assessments was to continue even after the Grow Boating national ad campaign was suspended more than a year ago. 15 percent of those funds were to continue to support the successful Grow Boating Internet and PR efforts while 85 percent of the funds were to be used by manufacturers to directly support dealers’ sales efforts. According to the ACMA delegates, few if any dealers can verify receipt of any such funds.
Accordingly, ACMA recommended MRAA undertake an immediate study leading to a report to the industry’s retailers on how the 85 percent of Grow Boating assessments were actually used in 2009 to implement retail boat sales. No date for completion of the report was set.
The remaining three ACMA recommendations accepted by the MRAA Board included:
(1) MRAA actively oppose any attempt to increase ethanol levels above the current E10 due to the destructive nature of ethanol to marine engine systems and the resulting safety considerations for vessel passengers;
(2) MRAA support S. 1666, a bill introduced by Senators Susan Collins and Benjamin Cardin that will require the EPA to study the compatibility of fuel additives, such as ethanol, with current engines before it can issue any waiver from the Clean Air Act; and
(3) MRAA recognize that recreational fishing in America is under attack, and MRAA should become active in pursuing, supporting and lobbying for Fishing Issues in its government relations program.
ACMA is comprised of representatives from regional, state, and local marine trades associations across the country and annually meets to discuss and make recommendations on policy and actions to the MRAA Board.