It was a busy day last Friday for Florida-based marine executives who hosted members of Congress to lay out the challenges facing the industry – from trade wars to tax reform and job development.

In Orlando, Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin – a leading force in efforts to educate elected officials – held a roundtable discussion primarily focused on tax reform with Rep Vern Buchanan along with Jeff Smith of Chaparral Boats; Greg Lentine, Norcross Marine Products; Duane Kuck, Regal Boats; Bill Watters, Syntec Industries; and Linwood Parker, Parker Boats.

Following the roundtable, a second meeting was held with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and other business and local leaders to discuss the same topics.

“We appreciate Representative Buchanan listening to the leaders’ concerns and particularly for his interest regarding the impact of the global trade war on the boating industry,” Yeargin said in a company news release. “We are grateful that Correct Craft had the opportunity to support our industry and the state of Florida by hosting these meetings.”

Industry executives shared with Representative Buchanan both the benefits of the tax reform bill along with suggested improvements. Additionally, since the global trade war has become a significant issue, participants shared challenges their companies are experiencing with US tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs from trading partners.

Down the road in Clearwater, Florida, Magic Tilt Trailers’ president and CEO, Craig Clawson, met with Congressman Charlie Crist to tour their facilities and discuss key issues facing the industry, particularly tariffs and worker shortages.

According to Clawson: “Tariffs are pushing up our costs, forcing us to increase our prices and squeezing our margins.”

Clawson summarised the visit, saying: “We were able to show him our plant, talk to our people, and discuss some the major challenges we are facing, particularly rising costs and the shortage of skilled labour.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has been encouraging members to “remain vocal” by reminding members of Congress what financial impact the boating industry has on their respective districts and the national economy.