NMMA Calls On President Obama to Clarify Boating Comment, Invites President to Tour Boat Factory

Chicago, IL
CHICAGO, Ill., February 3, 2010 – The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the recreational boating industry’s largest trade group, has called on President Obama to clarify his remarks in Nashua, New Hampshire yesterday which associated purchasing a boat with irresponsible spending. The President made this off-the-cuff remark at a town hall event announcing his new Small Business Lending Initiative. The President has already apologized to Las Vegas for similar comments he made in the same speech.
“The recreational boating industry is one of the last remaining American manufacturing businesses and net exporters, contributing nearly $30 billion in new sales and services to our nation’s economy each year, said NMMA president Thom Dammrich. “We don’t believe the President meant any harm by his comment, but we encourage the President to join us in celebrating the U.S. recreational boating industry and to stay focused on creating conditions for a strong business environment, including his own remarks.”
NMMA today sent a letter to the President encouraging him to visit a boat manufacturing plant and describing the U.S. boating industry. “Boats are made by middle-class Americans for middle-class Americans. By associating buying a boat with irresponsible spending, President Obama does a disservice to the very middle-class boat manufacturing communities across the U.S., such as Elkhart, Ind. We ask that he instead encourage Americans to spend responsibly and enact effective policies to get banks lending again so the American middle-class can get back on its feet,” said Dammrich.
The U.S. recreational boating industry creates more than 200,000 jobs in the United States, and has a total annual economic impact of $100 billion, including nearly $30 billion in new sales and services each year. Boating is a middle-class activity where 75 percent of boaters have an annual household income of less than $100,000, and 95 percent of boats are under 26 feet in length.
Recreational boating has been impacted by the distressed American economy, notably waning consumer confidence, tightened credit and banks’ unwillingness to support floorplan lending and the housing market crash. New powerboat sales decreased an estimated 28 percent in 2009 and 24 percent in 2008, leading to tremendous job loss and a decrease in boat manufacturing activity across the U.S.
NMMA’s letter to President Obama can be found here.