Boat Owners Association of The United States – BoatUS – is a non-stock association with no stockholders, incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. Members are listened to intently, and drive many changes in BoatUS programs and policies, but do not have a “legal” say in running the organization. The Association does not publish an annual report.
BoatUS officers direct the Association activities. The officers are elected by a Board of Directors and receive advice from a National Advisory Council (NAC). The Board Members and NAC Members are listed below. They can all be reached through the Executive Office, BoatUS, 880 S. Pickett Street, Alexandria, VA 22304. Boat America Corporation has a contract with BoatUS to provide services to BoatUS and its Members, including insurance, towing and boat financing. Boat America Corporation is part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies, chaired by Warren Buffett, and does business under the name “BoatUS”.
Also affiliated with BoatUS is the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is funded primarily through voluntary tax-deductible donations from BoatUS Members. It also receives grants from the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA and other organizations. The Foundation’s annual report is published and available online at www.boatus.com/foundation/annualreport.htm.
The Association currently has two registered lobbyists on staff actively lobbying in the federal and state arenas on issues that affect recreational boaters. BoatUS does not have a party affiliation, but rather works with any politician, regardless of political party, who advocates on behalf of boat owners and their access to the water.
The Association’s lobbying activities are all directed at protecting or enhancing the interests of boat owners. Some of its successes include bringing boat manufacturers under regulation by the U.S. Coast Guard; causing the passage of a boat defect law protecting boat owners; getting Congress to revoke both the boat user fee tax and the subsequent tax on diesel fuel for recreational boats; repealing the luxury tax on boats; encouraging the FCC to waive their fee on VHF radios for recreational boats; promoting the use of boating fuel taxes to build boat ramps to assure access to the water; and, encouraging the Coast Guard to drop its idea of creating a new security ID for every boater. More currently, the Association worked to get EPA and/or Congress to reinstate a 34-year permit exemption for recreational boats for water discharges. Current topics include addressing concerns about higher ethanol blends compatibility with marine engines, anchoring rights in Florida, proposed mandatory education standards, and a proliferation of proposals for mandatory adult lifejacket wear.
BoatUS Board of Directors:
- Richard Schwartz, Chairman
- Bill Oakerson, CEO
- Margaret Podlich, Vice President
- Beth Newburger, President, Epoch Communications
- Wolcott “Tony” Gibbs, Jr. (NAC, see below)
- Elbert “Mac” Maloney (NAC)
- Jim Ellis (NAC)
BoatUS National Advisory Council:
- Wolcott "Tony" Gibbs, Jr., Chairman, Former Editor, The New Yorker and Yachting
- Robert Adriance, Author and Retired Editor of Seaworthy Magazine
- Kris Carroll, President, Grady-White Boats, Inc.
- Lenora Clark, CA Boating Commissioner, Former RBOC President
- Dean Travis Clarke, Executive Editor, Bonnier Marine Group
- Doris Colgate, President, Offshore Sailing School
- Thom Dammrich, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association
- Frank Dvorak, SN, Former Chief Commander, United States Power Squadron
- Jim Ellis, Former President, BoatUS
- John Flynn, Public Policy Advisor, Patton-Boggs
- Chuck Hawley, Vice President of Product Information, West Marine
- Elbert “Mac” Maloney, Chairman Emeritus, Author, Chapman’s and Dutton’s
- Creighton Maynard, Former Chief Commander, U.S. Power Squadron
- Jack Michael, President, Recreational Boaters of California
- James E. Vass, National Commodore, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
- Toby Velazquez, President, Nat'l Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA)