A panel of distinguished national boating leaders who serve as a sounding board for the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) gathered last week along with esteemed guests and BoatUS staff in Austin to discuss key issues impacting recreational boating today and tomorrow.
Topics of the daylong agenda included an overview of recreational boating in addition to a review of industry trends, demographic and cultural shifts, federal and state boating issues and laws, national efforts to address the marine-technician shortage and increase fishing participation of anglers and boaters in America, how boat-sharing services are changing ownership, and how membership organizations remain relevant. A special presentation was made to the council by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coast Survey Rear Admiral Shepard Smith who discussed how NOAA produces the services it offers recreational boaters, including weather and charting, as well as the future of marine navigation.
The volunteer members of the BoatUS National Advisory Council included Robert Baldridge, immediate past Chief Commander, United States Power Squadrons; Lenora S. Clark, former California Boating and Waterways Commissioner and former Recreational Boaters of California President; Dean Travis Clarke, former Executive Editor, Bonnier Marine Group; Thom Dammrich, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association; Jim Ellis, National Advisory Council Chairman and former President, BoatUS; John Flynn, Principal, Squire Patton Boggs; Tom Guess, President, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators; John Marshall, President, Recreational Boaters of California; and Bob Adriance, former Editor, Seaworthy.
Joining the Council’s members was a distinguished roster of special guests, including Jackie Baumgarten, Chief Executive Officer, Boatsetter; Dave Chanda, Vice President, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation; Matt Gruhn, President, Marine Retailers Association of America; Beth Newburger Schwartz, President, Epoch Communications and wife of late BoatUS founder Richard Schwartz; and Liz Ogilvie, Director, Keep America Fishing, American Sportfishing Association.
BoatUS leadership and staff included Kirk La, Chief Executive Officer; Chris Edmonston, Vice President, Government Affairs, and President, BoatUS Foundation; Heather Lougheed, Vice President, Membership; Scott Croft, Vice President, Public Affairs; David Kennedy, Manager, Government Affairs; Morgan Neuhoff, Program Coordinator, Government Affairs; Susan Shingledecker, Vice President, BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.
Attending from BoatUS’s parent GEICO were Hank Nayden, Vice President, General Counsel; Chris Nowack, Counsel; Steve Parsons, Vice President, Assistant Controller; Nancy Pierce, Senior Vice President; and Bill Roberts, President.