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Get Connected with

The clock keeps ticking. Congress isnít moving. The deadlineís getting closer! Iím referring, of course, to the ballast water issue, the looming EPA discharge permit requirements for recreational boats.

If†nothing happens soon all boaters will be caught up in another destructive federal debacle remindful of the devastation the luxury tax heaped on us 18 years ago!

The background goes like this: Over 30 years ago, the EPA exempted pleasure boats from a provision in the Clean Water Act, requiring an overboard discharge permit. Overboard discharge includes grey and bilge water, deck runoff and engine/generator cooling water. The exemption, however, has been declared illegal by a U.S. District Court ruling; thereby, requiring all boats to be permitted in 8 months (by Sept. 30, 2008) unless Congress passes legislation to prevent it.

The two companion bills in Congress, titled the Recreational Boating Act of 2007, are H.R. 2550 in the House and S2067 in the Senate. If passed, the exemption would be reinstated for pleasure boats. But passage wonít happen unless Congress is pushed to act. Thatís where every dealer, every employee and every customer must weigh in! has been created by a Coalition of boating interests, including the MRAA, the NMMA and BoatUS; they’ve been pushing for†Congressional action. But a louder voice needs to be heard from around the country, You!

We must turn up the heat by keeping letters, calls and e-mails flowing into Congress, calling on our representatives and senators to co-sponsor and pass H.R. 2550 and S2067. Today, there are 69 co-sponsors of H.R. 2550 and 11 co-sponsors in the Senate for S2067. We need more. is an excellent website that gives everyone the tools to become part of this effort. So hereís a recommendation for every dealership: Starting with you, get every employee in your store engaged in the process. By department, specify an hour in a day for the employees to write a letter, make a phone call or send an e-mail to their respective congressman and senator, urging them to co-sponsor and pass the respective bill. Allowing time to do this at work can serve as (1) good team-building; (2) emphasize the importance of this issue; and (3) let them have an active role.


2 comments on “Get Connected with

  1. John Wisse

    Congratulations Norm for hitting the nail on the head of what is the most controversial issue to face recreational boating since the old luxury tax days. Now if we can get local and regional marine dealers, trades associations, boating organizations and others to inform the American boater of this issue, then maybe there’s a chance to get it defeated well before September. Unfortunately, very, very few persons I spoke with at boat shows in Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati and Detroit, which included show patrons — our boaters — and DNR officers, marine dealers, sales staff — were familiar with this issue and the Recreational Boating Act of 2007. Who at the grassroots level in each state will take a leadership role within the boating community to defend an industry that is their livelihood and one that contributes significantly to the economic impacts of many local and state economies? I’ve heard nothing out of local marine dealer groups and trade associations in Ohio and there has been very little press coverage on this issue. Who will step in to lead at the local level?

  2. Eric West

    Why not do like all acitivist organizations do and post a petition that we all can sign, addressed to our members of Congress? There are even free sites out there that will host this for you. Talk is cheap. Action counts.

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