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President's Report
January 2020


Advertising for the 2020 Seattle Boat Show presented by West Marine is at full strength this week. The ad campaign will blanket Washington state and beyond, spreading our theme “2020 is The Year of the Boat” and now is the time to “Go Big”, “Set Sail”, or the year for “Big Deals” and “New Gear”.  The seventy-third iteration of the Seattle Boat Show opens Friday, January 24 and runs through Saturday, February 1 at CenturyLink Field Event Center and South Lake Union.

Seattle Boat Show tickets have been on sale at SeattleBoatShow.com since Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and we’ve already sold tickets in 34 states and Canadian provinces. By the end of the show I expect to have sold tickets in 45 states and provinces – that’s a Seattle Boat Show factoid that always impresses me and helps reinforce my opinion that our show is really something special.

The NMTA staff and Boat Show Committee are proud of our innovative and unique promotions to keep the show fun and fresh. This year’s show will be a big deal for boaters and their dogs. On Thursday, January 30 the Seattle Boat Show will host Dogs on Deck and attendees are encouraged to bring their “furry first mates” to the show. To the best of my knowledge, this is a first for an indoor boat show. I’m optimistic Dogs on Deck will become an essential part of the show just like our free seminars, Boat Show University, and Uncorked and Sails & Ales have. You can read the complete 2020 Seattle Boat Show Advertising & Marketing Plan at this LINK.

For 2020 and beyond I see some different types of “big deals” for NMTA and our members.

10-year Lease Renewal at CenturyLink Field Event Center

I’m pleased to report this will be our twenty-first post-Kingdome show and NMTA has recently renewed a new ten-year lease at CenturyLink Field Event Center. As I’ve written previously, I’m very optimistic about the future of the Stadium District, waterfront, and Bell Harbor Marina as the home of the Seattle Boat Show for the next ten years. We’re so excited about adding Bell Harbor in 2021 that the cheese sculptor we’ve hired for our Cheese the Day promotion, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, will be carving a cheese version of Bell Harbor Marina. 

Copper Bottom Paint Phase-Out Legislation

The short 60-day legislative session is underway and there will be many important, boating and fishing bills for the legislature to consider. The Department of Ecology with the support of the environmental community will be advocating for a bill that delays the complete phase-out of bottom paint with copper for recreational boats 65-feet and smaller to 2026. NMTA will be supporting a different approach, which seeks to implement the California leach-rate model to significantly reduce the amount of copper in our boatyards and Puget Sound. If you have questions about the legislative session or government affairs please contact Peter Schrappen, NMTA V.P. and Director of Government Affairs, at peter@nmta.net

10-year Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan

I love to say “boating means something different to everyone”, especially here in the northwest with so many ways to enjoy boating. That said, 60-70% of all boats are used for sportfishing all or some of the time. Since 2012 new boat sales in Washington (units) have increased significantly year over year in 6 of those 8 years by an average of 13.4%. In 2016 new boat sales were flat and in 2019 new boats sales decreased by 4.3%. It’s notable that in 2016 and 2019 we saw significant decreases in the total number of days anglers could fish for hatchery-marked chinook and coho. In other words – fishing opportunity drives new boat sales here in Washington.

Since 2017, NMTA has strongly voiced our serious concerns about the Management Plan to Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), the WDFW Commission, and the Governor’s Office. NMTA’s primary concern with the Management Plan is that it limits WDFW’s ability to maintain or expand the state’s conservation-based mark-selective fisheries for hatchery salmon.

With uncertainty about the future of our mark-selective fisheries here in Puget Sound, NMTA and our members that depend on sportfishing opportunity will need to focus on what anglers CAN do with their boats versus what they can’t do. One example of this is the rebranded Northwest Fishing Derby Series which debuted a new website earlier this month. The 2020 Derby Series is the largest ever in 16-years with 20 events in British Columbia (1), Idaho (1), Oregon (2) and Washington (16) promoting derbies that target kokanee, bass, lingcod and hatchery-marked salmon. 

Page 5 includes a recap of 2019 Washington new and used boat sales data and page 11 features a 2019 national sales recap from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Thank you for your support in 2019 and let’s make 2020 the Year of the Boat.

Complimentary Seattle Boat Show tickets are available on page 2. You can print the page or simply show the tickets on any mobile device at any of the show entrances.

See you at the show.



George Harris

NMTA President/CEO

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