Nearly 400 Attend Virtual American Boating Congress

Nearly 400 participants attended the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s  (NMMA) virtual American Boating Congress. The event featured two days of policy discussion lead by members of Congress and federal agency leaders and award presentations.

Speakers included Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Senator Todd Young (R-IN) Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) Maria Salazar (R-FL-27), U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor to the President and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Jeff Krause from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Discussion topics ranged from coastal resiliency and infrastructure to trade challenges and the Modern Fish Act. The speakers highlighted the value of the recreation industry and the need to support and preserve it. The ABC wrapped up with a panel discussion on state-level policy and advocacy efforts regarding wakesurfing.

NMMA presented three awards over the course of the virtual ABC, including the 2021 Legislator of the Year, the BoatPAC Champion for Growth Award, and the Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award.

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The 2021 Legislator of the Year award was presented to Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL-21) for her commendable service to the recreational boating industry as co-chair of the Congressional Boating Caucus.

Joe Lewis, owner of Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina, was recognized as this year’s recipient of the BoatPAC Champion for Growth Award. This award is given annually to an individual or company that has recognized the importance of BoatPAC’s mission and advocacy.

The NMMA Foundation for Recreational Boating Safety, Education and Environmental Awareness recognized Bruce Van Wagoner, President-Marine Group of Wells Fargo (retired), as the recipient of the 2021 Hammond Marine Industry Leadership Award.

A 45-year veteran to the industry, Mr. Van Wagoner has showcased extraordinary service, commitment and dedication to the long-term health of the recreational boating industry.