Working waterfronts, those parts of town at the water’s edge dotted with marine-dependent businesses like marinas, boatyards and haul-out facilities, are crucial to recreational boating. However, in some places they are struggling as municipalities grapple with development pressures and poor planning. That’s why Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine has introduced the “Keep America’s Waterfront Working Act of 2011” (H.R. 3109) in Congress. BoatUS has responded by urging boaters to ask their Congressional representatives to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill.
“Boaters rely on such small businesses to provide critical access to the water and essential services for their vessels and families,” said BoatUS Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Ryck Lydecker. “If Rep. Pingree’s bill passes, it would be an extremely positive step in preserving access, facilities and services for recreational boaters and anglers.”
The waterfront is an economic engine and job provider for many communities, and H.R. 3109 would help states develop tools to preserve sites for water-dependent commercial activities. The bill is nearly identical to one that Pingree introduced in 2009.
Grants would allow coastal states and communities to support and protect places where boatyards, marinas and other service providers do business, as well as boat builders, commercial fishermen, fishing charter and tour boat operators, and other water-dependent businesses. It would also provide essential funding for waterfront planning that could stem the tide of being purchased or overrun.
“The waterfront is the only viable location for such businesses, and the continued access they provide to recreational boaters along our coasts is vital to the future of boating,” Lydecker added.
H.R. 3109 currently has 18 co-sponsors but needs more, according to BoatUS. Boaters can review the bill and ask their members of Congress to co-sponsor at www.BoatUS.com/gov/workingwaterfronts. For more information, contact BoatUS Government Affairs at 703-461-2878, ext. 8363 or email mailto:[email protected].