NPO Profile: The NMMA

Category: article

 Oct 27th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Oct 27th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

This week BassFIRST starts a series of features highlighting various fishing/boating related NPOs (Non Profit Organizations). The purpose of these articles is to find out a bit about what these folks are doing for the anglers and boaters and to see how some of the money is spent via the various taxes we all pay to enjoy our favorite sport, fishing.

NMMA President Thom Dammrich (Photo NMMA)

Today Thom Dammrich, President of the NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association), steps up and answers the BassFIRST questions in Part 1 of this article. Part 2 will be available tomorrow.

BF – What is the National Marine Manufacturers Association?

TD – The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA’s nearly 1,700 member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters in the United States. The association, headquartered in downtown Chicago, is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy, market research and data, product quality assurance and marketing communications.

BF – When was your organization formed?

TD – NMMA was formed in 1979 in a merger between the Boating Industry Association of Chicago (BIA) and the National Association of Engine & Boat Manufacturers of New York (NAEBM), roots of the non-profit Association can be traced to 1904 when NAEBM was founded.

BF – Why was your organization created?
TD – NMMA was created via the merger of NAEBM and BIA, with the primary goal of creating a more powerful, unified voice for the recreational marine industry.

In May 1904, six boat and engine manufacturers gathered in New York to create NAEBM. The new organization’s mission was “To protect, promote, further and advance the interests of members as manufacturers and sellers of marine engines, motors and boats of every kind and description and accessories thereto…”

In the years that followed, NAEBM did much to foster continued growth of the recreational marine industry, including: Creation of the first-ever consumer boat show in New York City’s Madison Square Garden (today entering its 104th year as the New York National Boat Show); surveying of marinas nationwide; development of an annual statistics report on boating sales and participation (still in publication today as the Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract); and introduction of a legislative and government relations component to look after boating interests in Washington, D.C.

BIA’s roots date back to the 1920s, when nearly a dozen outboard motor manufacturers-almost all headquartered in the Midwest-formed the Outboard Industry Association (OIA). OIA was responsible for launch of the still-popular Chicago Boat Show in 1930, and the association quickly grew to incorporate boat, accessory and trailer manufacturers. To reflect these additions, the association’s name was changed in 1964 to the Boating Industry Association (BIA).

Throughout their co-existence, NAEBM traditionally represented “big boat” and coastal boating interests, while BIA gravitated to smaller boat and lakeland boating interests. With the industry seeking to unite under one, all-encompassing organization to increase its national prominence and strength, NAEBM and BIA joined forces in 1979 under a new name: The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

BF – How is your organization funded?

TD – NMMA is funded by the industry.  Revenues come from membership dues, certification programs and boat and trade shows we produce for the industry.

BF – What does your organization do to increase the participation in sport fishing/boating?

TD – NMMA is a leader in the industry’s Grow Boating Initiative and active player in the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing campaign.  The former is financed by the industry to grow participation in boating and the latter is financed from outreach funds in the Sportfish Restoration Trust Fund and is focused on increasing participation in fishing and boating.  Visit www.discoverboating.com and www.takemefishing.org to learn more about each of these programs.  Discover Boating is a national awareness campaign to increase interest in boating by promoting the positive benefits of the boating lifestyle. In addition to advertising, we have an extensive PR and interactive marketing program.  Besides promoting the positive benefits of the boating lifestyle, we are also working to improve the boating experience through certification programs designed to improve product quality and the quality of the sales and service experience at the retail level.

BF – How do you personally work at increasing sport fishing/boating participation?

TD – I am personally involved in keeping the boating industry sold on our Discover Boating program.  I visit members, give many speeches and interviews and promote boating in interviews with the consumer press.

BF – Does your organization have support from grassroots organizations?

TD – We work closely with grassroots organizations when it makes sense for both them and us.  The best example was our efforts over the past two years to pass the Clean Boating Act of 2008 in Congress.  A court decision was going to cause the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require permits for 17 million recreational boats for incidental discharges, some as harmless as deck runoff.  We put together the Boat Blue Coalition, which was comprised of nearly 60 organizations, to convince Congress to restore the 35-year-old exemption from the Clean Water Act for recreational boats.  It took nearly 400,000 contacts with members of Congress to get our message through, but legislation was officially signed into law this fall.

BF – Do you own a boat?

TD – I don’t currently own a boat, but I am a boater.  In my position, I can’t have a favorite, so one of our member manufacturers makes a boat available to NMMA every summer.  We use it to promote boating, and I use it to enjoy some relaxing time on the water with family and friends.

BF – How many times per year do you go fishing/boating?

TD – Probably a dozen or more times a year.

More tomorrow…

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