SWFMIA News & Notes – Oct. 2014




As you know, we have an important General Election coming up this November. We will be voting for our representatives at all levels of government. We have received a list of candidates who deserve our support from our State Organization (MIAF). We have reviewed this list and concur with the following recommendation for your consideration with your financial support and vote on election day. We have added a national and local race for your consideration.

US House of Representatives:
Curt Clawson

Florida House of Representative:
Representative Ken Roberson
Representative Dane Eagle
Representative Heather Fitzenhagen
Representative Ray Rodrigues

Lee County Commission:
Commissioner Brian Hamman

If you would like to contribute to any of these campaigns, you can send your checks to SWFMIA at P.O. Box 1510, Fort Myers, FL 33902. We will bundle them and make a presentation to each of the candidates. Your checks can be made out to the Campaign of (insert candidate name). Your are limited by law to $1000 per legal entity for State and County races and $2,000 per individual only for Federal races. Of course any amount less than the maximum allowed will be appreciated by the candidates.

Our industry support of these candidates will allow us continued access to legislators who support both business and our industry.

Thanks for your help!

Southwest Florida's major show of the year is just around the corner. We are looking forward to another great show and there is still time if you have not yet reserved your space. In-Water, there are a few slips available for new or brokerage boats. On land, we have space for trailerable boats and accessories.

All of the fall shows along the east coast have been strong and we see no reason that our show will be any different. Elections will be over and people will be out enjoying our fabulous fall weather.

You can find details on our web site at
Call us 954-570-7785 or e-mail kyle@swfmia.com.





SWFMIA'S ANNUAL MEETING was truly a spectacular evening. More than 160 members and guests were on hand for a night of socializing with old friends, and an auction and raffle that raised almost $2,000 for our Scholarship and Community Donation Fund.

Our Meet-The-Candidates session gave us an opportunity to meet candidates running for office in local elections and provide them with a better understanding of the scope and impact of the recreational boating industry.

Congratulations to our "Member-of-the-Year", Justin McBride and our Scholarship Recipients for 2014. Justin is the Coastal Project Manager for Lee County’s Division of Natural Resources Marine Program and a long serving Member of SWFMIA’s Board of Directors.

Scholarships were awarded to Marina Matthews (Longboat Key Club Moorings), Peyton Turregano (Legacy Harbour Marina), Madison Fischer (Fischer Marine), Tara Archer (Fischer), Taylor Boutelle (Lee County DEP) and Rebessa Taubel (Shoreline Lumber).







It was a great night for SWFMIA’s Tampa Bay Region Thursday at the Clearwater Yacht Club. Over 70 members and guests turned out for an update on issues affecting the industry, a chance to hear from U.S. Congressman David Jolly and State Representative Larry Ahern and a little socializing.

The meeting began with a welcome from SWFMIA President Hans Wilson and a showing of our new video on the impact of the boating business on the west coast. View the video at http://swfmia.com/about-the-association/.

Jopie Helsen with The Sailor’s Wharf and Tampa Bay Region Chairman, introduced Congressman Jolly. The Congressman is a lifelong boater and is obviously tuned in to the issues our industry faces. He is engaging and personal and did not shy away from fielding questions from the audience. There was discussion on fishing regulations and the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Federal Law that governs the recreational and commercial harvest of fisheries in Federal Waters). The Congressman is very sympathetic and supportive of issues that small businesses face and made it clear that he welcomes input and communications from SWFMIA members.

State Representative Larry Ahern spoke briefly about local issues and also encouraged our members to stay engaged in issues and the importance of staying in touch with legislators. Representative Ahern owned a small business in Pinellas County for many years and only recently became involved in politics. He and the Congressman share many philosophies and are anxious to support the growth of small businesses.

Jopie followed with an update on the progress of the St. Petersburg Waterfront Master Plan. Our committee has made significant progress in educating city officials and others on the importance of including a boating element in the plan. Jopie made the point that this effort is a great example of what can be accomplished by engaging local politicians and community leaders. It is too soon to know what the final design of the Master Plan will be but, no matter the outcome, the marine industry now has a seat at the table and is recognized as a major contributor to the process. Norm Schultz gave the group an update on the Pinellas County Manatee Plan. A Local Rule Review Committee (made up of different stakeholders, including the marine industry) has made its recommendation to FWC. As could be expected, there were both good and bad elements to the recommendations as it relates to boating. There is still a long way to go and there will be more opportunity for input from the industry. Norm drove home the importance of our industry staying involved and that we be ready to take action as this process moves forward.

Restrictive fishing regulations play a critical role in the growth of boating as fishermen are constantly threatened with attempts to further limit opportunity to enjoy their share of controlled stocks. This has a serious trickle-down effect on every phase of recreational boating. Yet, most industry businesses have only a limited knowledge of these very complex State and Federal issues. Dennis O’Hern of the Fishing Rights Alliance gave a quick overview of Magnuson/Stevens, Sector Separation, Red Snapper, Grouper, National Marine Fisheries issues, and more. Denny drove home the point that all of these regulations and potential changes in laws have a serious effect on the sale of boats, tackle, fuel, and all marine products.

Presentations wrapped up with John Good and Hans Wilson talking about SWFMIA, the Marine Industries Association of Florida, the role that trade association’s play within the industry, and the need for all businesses to become involved in and support their local industry association.

The meeting was an eye-opener for many in attendance who really had no idea that an industry association even existed in the Tampa Bay area.

There was a lot of ground covered in about 90 minutes but the audience was engaged and interested throughout. However, it did not take long to clear the room when Hans invited everyone outside for a cold drink and some food. It was perfect weather on the deck where old friends had a chance to reconnect and those attending a SWFMIA function for the first time had a chance to meet and connect with others in the industry.

Many thanks to Congressman Jolly, Representative Ahern and all of our speakers for making this a great meeting.