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8 | BoatU.S. Magazine DECEMBER 2016
AT THE HELM
BY MARGARET BONDS PODLICH
Every sailor knows that, sooner or later, the wind shifts and new courses present hemselves. I’m writing with both joy and melancholy to tell you that I’m setting a new course and completing my 23-year journey with BoatU.S. to pursue other opportunities. As a person who finds her peace on the water, it’s been a tremendous privilege to have led the nation’s largest boater organization to work on clean and
safe boating, fair government policies, and helping boaters stay in boating. And in this,
BoatU.S.’s 50th-anniversary year, what an honor it’s been to continue the legacy of our
founder Richard Schwartz.
I’ve loved defending the rights of boaters to “mess around in boats” without crazy fees
and mandates. It’s been an endless conversation to enlighten congressional staffers that 75
percent of boaters come from households with incomes of less than $100,000. It took time,
but we successfully created the Clean Marina and Clean Boating practices and have watched
them spread nationwide. I’ve enjoyed working with our industry’s boatbuilders, dealers, and
marina owners, who recognize we’re part of the same ecosystem and rely on one another.
In this issue, we demonstrate our involvement in these and other important initiatives. On
page 36, you’ll read about one of BoatU.S’s ongoing efforts to defend cruisers’ rights to anchor
where they want. Also in this issue, on page 56, you’ll read a special report on our industry’s
need for more skilled professionals and how students can get that training. Our team is
always on the job for you, providing the advocacy and important news that boaters need.
Along the way on my journey, as president of this association, I’ve loved talking with
you, the members, whom I meet everywhere! Some of you proudly wear your BoatU.S.
ballcaps, and you have our stickers on your cars and boats. Last month I chatted with a
fellow in an airport baggage-claim area, the latest issue of BoatU.S. Magazine tucked in his
backpack. And I’ve had fun paddling, powering, or
sailing up to boats flying the BoatU.S. flag, saying
hi and getting to know you. Thank you immensely
for the opportunity to connect with you and
Our association is strong, our services robust,
and our future bright. The managers of our advocacy, government affairs, safety, and membership
teams are extraordinary at what they do for you,
our members, and I’m very proud of that. You’re in
very good hands.
We’re all bound by our link to the water, to the
memories of sunsets and fish and laughter we’ve
enjoyed, and the sheer Zen we find while floating
on a boat. How lucky we are!
Sailing on, I greatly look forward to seeing you
on the water.
A course change
VOLUME XXII, No. 6, DECEMBER 2016