MRAA’s Federal Priorities

FEDERAL POLICY PRIORITIES
Acting as your voice on Capitol Hill, the MRAA Government Relations team assures that the recreational boating industry, and the perspective of dealers it serves, is heard and respected. From discussions around supporting important conservation programs, reauthorizing keystone programs like the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, or advocating for more boating-related infrastructure, we make certain Congress works for you.


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Dealership Operations & Regulations

As a boat dealer and small business owner we understand that your time is at a premium. Between dealing with customers, scheduling demos, getting boats in the water and other tasks, the smallest change to your business means big work. To help you focus on making sales and keeping customers boating and happy, the MRAA is dedicated maintaining a favorable regulatory environment for you and your dealership.

MRAA Top Policy Priorities

  • Seeking Exemption from Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) “Auto Rule”
    • Last year, the FTC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for a suite of new federal regulations that, if passed, will change the way your dealership forever does business. The “Motor Vehicle Dealers Trade Regulation Rule” would apply to cars, boats, motorcycles and RVs, and is primarily aimed at removing deception and other unfair business practices from the motor vehicle market.
    • Contents of the rule
      • The FTC Auto Rule proposes to make changes to major parts of the selling experience by limiting how dealers can offer “add-ons,” impose stringent record keeping requirements and put in place strict rules related to how you can interact with a customer throughout the sales process. Gain a more comprehensive understanding of the rule.
  • MRAA Response
    • Pushed for language to be added to 2023 appropriations act to stop FTC from moving forward with this rule.
    • A comprehensive comment letter was submitted by the MRAA asking for Marine Dealers to be exempt.
    • We launched a Boating United action alert that produced 136 comments from MRAA Members that were shared with the FTC.
    • The MRAA also worked closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy to highlight the impact this proposed regulation will have on small businesses, ultimately resulting in the SBA Office of Advocacy taking action.

Vessel Speed Restrictions

Access is necessary for the success of boating and your business relies on boating. Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed vessel speed restrictions for boats 35 to 65 feet in length, imposing the single largest impediment to recreational boating access in history! Unfortunately, more proposals of this type are on the horizon. We understand they will hurt the boating industry and ultimately your livelihood, so that’s why the MRAA will champion against these harmful regulations.

MRAA Top Policy Priorities

  • Combatting harmful impediments to access, including detesting the proposed Right Whale Vessel Speed Rule.

Right Whale Vessel Speed Rule

  • Expansion of Speed Restrictions to boats between 35-65 feet
    • NOAA is proposing to put in place a 10-knot speed limit for boats 35 feet and longer on almost the entire Eastern Seaboard.
  • Expansion of static speed zones
    • NOAA is proposing to expand the geographic and temporal boundaries of the static speed zones, with some lasting from November through the end of May and extending to as far as 90 miles offshore.

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Resilience & Pre-Disaster Mitigation

To ensure that you can operate your business and keep your customers on the water after a natural disaster or extreme-weather event, the MRAA is committed to policies that will facilitate building resilience into your business.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, roughly 40-60 percent of small businesses never reopen following a disaster. Research shows that every dollar the government spends on disaster mitigation — such as improving existing infrastructure or elevating homes and businesses — saves taxpayers an average of $6 for every $1 the Federal Government spends on mitigation measures. It’s important because the economic impact of disasters have cost the U.S. more than $800 billion in the last decade.

MRAA Top Policy Priorities

Passing the Providing Resources for Emergency Preparedness and Resilient Enterprises (PREPARE) Act. PREPARE Act (H.R. 2966/ S. 1370)

The PREPARE Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation, would authorize a program allowing the Small Business Administration to make low-interest, fixed-rate loans of up to $500,000 to small businesses to invest in pre-disaster mitigation. These funds would allow MRAA members to protect their facilities, real estate and inventory from increasingly common natural disasters and extreme-weather events.


Conservation & Natural Resource Management

Clean waterways, healthy fisheries and access to both helps keep you in business. When customers stop at your dealership, marina or accessory store, that is just the first step in their journey as they prepare for a day on the water. We understand, and it’s why we support federal policy that will help both conserve and bolster our natural resources while generating more opportunities to recreate.

MRAA Top Policy Priorities

  • Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) (S. 1149)
    • Habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and emerging diseases are taking a toll on our nation’s birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and bees. The bold, bipartisan RAWA solution will help at-risk species with cost-effective, collaborative conservation.RAWA will help provide more resources to states, territories and tribes to help conserve and manage wildlife, by restoring habitat, controlling aquatic invasive species and more.
    • RAWA Specifics:
      • Provide state and territorial wildlife agencies with up to $1.4 billion annually to implement their federally-approved Wildlife Action Plans.
      • Invest up to $98 million annually in the wildlife conservation efforts led by Tribal Nations.
      • Support state, tribal, private and national efforts to recover wildlife already identified as threatened or endangered.

Additional Resources


Recreational Fishing & Fisheries Management

It is no secret that the majority of fishing trips take place on a boat and for many dealers, it is a major sales driver. Understanding the importance healthy fisheries have for your business, the MRAA is focused on working with Congress to put in place policies and programs that will bolster our nations recreational fisheries while simultaneously creating opportunities for new anglers to get engaged.

MRAA Top Policy Priorities

  • Passage of the Youth Coastal Fishing Act to create new anglers and boaters.
  • Providing input to NOAA to assure recreational fishing and boating is allowed in National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Monuments.
  • Lower the amount of menhaden harvested in the Chesapeake Bay Menhaden Reduction Fishery.
  • Assure recreational fishing and boating access is not impeded during the development of National 30×30 initiatives.

Additional Resources


Responsible Offshore Wind Development

As the United States continues to diversify its energy portfolio and lean more into offshore wind, the MRAA aims to maintain boating access, protect important recreational fisheries and assure coastal communities benefit from this new development.

MRAA Top Policy Priorities

  • Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems (RISEE) Act
  • The RISEE act would establish several dedicated streams of funding for coastal infrastructure and resiliency to protect vulnerable communities and businesses most impacted by sea-level rise and coastal erosion.
    • If enacted, the RISEE Act would:
      • Establish an offshore wind revenue sharing model to assure nearby coastal communities benefit and use funds for coastal restoration, infrastructure improvements and more.
      • Dedicate funding to the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund
        • This Fund provides grants to coastal and Great Lakes communities to make improvements in infrastructure and mitigate impacts of natural disasters.
      • Reform the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA)
        • RISEE would eliminate the GOMESA state sharing revenue cap of $375 million
        • Remove the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s stateside funding cap of $125 million.

Get Involved Today!

Connect with MRAA’s Advocacy Team:

Chad Tokowicz

Government Relations Manager

chad@mraa.com

202-737-9779

Head shot of MRAA President Matt Gruhn in a blue collared shirt in front of wood backdrop

Matt Gruhn

President

matt@mraa.com

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