French Broad River News Article

July 1st declared National Boating Day

Media Relations

With the arrival of peak-boating and boat-selling season, last week, the U.S. Senate passed S. Res. 199, introduced by Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), declared July 1, 2009 National Boating Day. The resolution recognizes the important role recreational boating and the boating industry play in the lives of the nation’s 70 million boaters and the U.S. economy.

“I am very pleased that the Senate passed this resolution recognizing July 1 as National Boating Day. The boating industry is very important to the economy of North Carolina and provides families with the opportunity to enjoy our state’s scenic treasures, from our mountain lakes to the Outer Banks,” said Senator Richard Burr.

”The boating industry has always been an integral part of Wisconsin’s landscape,” said Senator Herb Kohl said. “From the boat manufacturing jobs it supports to the millions of dollars generated by recreational boating, it has a tremendous impact on our economy and has made our state a tourist destination. This resolution recognizes the many ways boating has shaped Wisconsin.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports in its 2008 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, released this week, that there are more than 17 million recreational boats on the water, of which nearly 95 percent are less than 26 feet in length. What’s more, the Abstract shows that contrary to boating’s reputation as only for the ‘affluent,’ 76 percent of boat owners have a household income less than $100,000 per year. Other highlights from the NMMA’s data include:

  • The U.S. recreational boating industry contributed $33.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2008
  • The average price of a new outboard boat, engine and trailer package in 2008 was $29,388
  • May, June and July were the most active months for boat sales in 2008
  • Adult participation in boating increased six percent to an estimated 70.1 million from 66.4 million
  • There were 704,820 new boats sold in 2008 (including powerboats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks and personal watercraft)
  • There were 203,00 new powerboats sold in 2008 for a dollar value of $7.6 billion

“The entire marine industry and recreational boaters nationwide look forward to celebrating National Boating Day,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “Not only is recreational boating a beloved pastime, but marine businesses are important parts of their communities and our national economy, creating business opportunities and local jobs. Our thanks go to all of the Members of Congress behind this resolution for their strong support of the boating industry.”

With the nation’s average price for gas hovering around $2.50 per gallon, much lower than 2008’s nearly $4 per gallon, boaters are expected to hit the water in larger numbers this summer. In fact, a May survey of more than 30,000 members of the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatU.S.) found that 92 percent of motorboat owner respondents plan to boat this summer if gas prices are lower than last summer; of that, 39 percent noted they would go boating more often. What’s more, 96 percent of all respondents said the economic downturn would not cause them to stop using their boat this summer.

Industry experts continue to stress, for those in the market for a boat, now is the time to buy. Dealers and marinas nationwide have rolled out special incentives on boats, accessories, slips and services, pulling out all the stops for the crucial summer selling season. Discover Boating, the recreational boating industry’s national awareness campaign, has also created a one-stop online resource for those looking to get their ‘feet wet’ in boating,

In addition to Senators Kohl and Burr, more than 20 Senators co-sponsored the resolution, including Senators Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), David Vitter (R-La.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

A companion measure, H. Res. 410, sponsored in the House by Congressmen Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and Henry Brown (R-S.C.), along with Congressional Boating Caucus Co-Chairs Candice Miller (R-Mich.) and Gene Taylor (D-Miss), passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on June 9 with 27 bipartisan co-sponsors.

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