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Where did all the money go?

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.


7 comments on “Where did all the money go?

  1. Real Boat Dealer

    Another marine association propagana piece from their minister of information. How are all the decisons these groups made for boat dealers, from 2000-2006, working out these days?

  2. Doug Reimel

    This just may be a little negative but! If the MRAA does not know were the money went, This is a HUGE problem. The leadership has failed. This is serious negligence. The money probably went to shore of the books of the businesses that collected the money. Grow Boating Inc, is supposed to be a non profit corporation yet it is not a 503C.

  3. Dave

    Its about time someone looked into this rediculous Grow Boating program My hats off to the MRAA for pushing for answers. As with many, not all by any means, non profits most of the money goes to overhead and paying the fat cats on the NMMA payroll. What sense does it make that the NMMA charges a more expensive rate for boat show space if the boat manufacure being dispalyed is not a member of the NMMA? There are many boat manufactures that are not members of NMMA because they dont see the value or return on membership cost. This of course falls once again on the shoulders of the dealers who have to be in the show AND pay a higher cost for the space. How is this policy helping the industry and dealers? If the NMMA really gave a ….. about the dealers they would help them with show cost, reduce prices at the gate for the public, not charge for parking, promote the show with current marketing programs directed at the demographics of show gowers. The NMMA needs to have fewer boat shows and create a demand for new products that will generate healthy backlogs at the manufacturing level which in turn will help protect margins at the dealer level.
    The NMMA has just purchased the Boston winter show, I cant amagine what that cost. When all of America and especially boat dealers are cutting back and becomeing better business people as a result of this economy so should the NMMA. I will ask the question again. The NMMA has a President and 7, count them, 7 vice presidents at the top of their food chain. What are the salaries of these 8 people and is the industry getting its monies worth. They do have some good programs and representation in Washington looking out for certain parts of the industry. Times are tough and they need to trim down like the rest of us because they are not helping our industry.

  4. Komrade Karl

    I never understood the reasoning to collect the GB tax from boat manufacturers when it was based on the motors? Why not just get it from the engine builders. there are only a handful of those & 2 make up the vast majority?

  5. kim stepp

    As a manufacturer, I want to know where all the money went also! I sent Dammrich a number of letters over the last few years expressing how I felt that it would be in the best interest of manufacturers and dealers if they would just lower the cost of the boat shows. I never got a phone call, letter, email or sign language from the NMMA and we have been a member for 31 years! Well, guess what, no longer a member and no longer care. They never showed a powerboat in any of the “grow boating” ads and we paid a small fortune to the NMMA. I felt like we were being held hostage; if we wanted to buy motors to put in our boats, we had to pay the ransom!



  6. Ed Lofgren

    “Where did the money go” is a question that needs to be answered, and i believe Grow Boating as administered by NMMA will provide us some real answers as MRAA delves into this further.
    EQUALLY IMPORTANT, however, is to focus on getting this program back on track so that it is “in position” to assist us with the inevitable uptick in the economy.
    It is our Industry’s marketing and advertising initiative, and, despite the naysayers, there is strong evidence that it had been reaching the public and influencing boat buying decision making.
    There is a lot of pent up demand out there as we have seen on line and in our showrooms last Fall and a strong Grow Boating/Go Boating campaign could place us in a position to take better advantage of the anticipated upturn.
    It is a ‘shot in the arm’ that is sorely needed and that could pay real dividends. We need to focus on getting it back in operation.
    Best, Ed Lofgren Chair,MRAA

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