MAY 2019 • FOGHORN 5 LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR John Groundwater Illegal Charters PVA members asked Congress to encourage and support Coast Guard en- forcement efforts targeting illegal charter operators. PVA members are seeing an increase in illegal charters in ports nation- wide. While the Coast Guard is stepping up its enforcement activities in some cities, we are hopeful that Coast Guard leaders in Washington D.C. will give this unsafe practice a higher priority with even broader enforcement activity. Capital Construction Fund PVAmembers urged Congress to amend the tax code to allow all operators of U.S.-flagged passenger vessels to take advantage of the tax deferral and capital appre- ciation benefits offered by the Capital Construction Fund. Such a move would help domestic passenger vessel operators construct new vessels, employ more mariners, and generally support U.S. shipyards. Small Shipyard Grant Program P VA m e m b e r s a s k e d Congress to appropriate $35 million for the Small Shipyard Grant Program for FY 2020. This important program has helped small shipyards make capital im- provements. Under the program, small shipyards can use grants to modernize and purchase new equipment. Special thanks go to John Lake and Entertainment Cruises for providing Water Taxi transporta- tion for the PVA Congressional Fly-In participants. I encourage you to consider taking part in next year’s PVACongressional Fly-In. Your participation is important and your input is valued. In the meantime, Please let me know if we can ever be of assistance to you. Sincerely, John R. Groundwater Executive Director n PVA Goes to Washington A delegation of 27 PVA members and seven staffers gathered in Washington D.C. onApril 30 for the annual PVA Congressional Fly-In. Armed with talking points and information about the passenger vessel industry, these individuals met with Members of Congress and their staffs in a host of in-depth, one-on- one meetings. This important day kicked-off with a breakfast briefing that featured guest speaker John Young, Director of Freight and Surface Transportation Policy, at the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). The AAPA represents more than 130 public port authorities in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. Like PVA, AAPA works with legislators and regula- tors in the Nation’s Capital on issues facing ports and maritime interests. In his comments, Mr. Young emphasized the need for infrastructure funding—seeking an estimated $66 billion over the ten years—for port, facility and waterways improvement nation- wide. In more than 30 meetings, PVA members highlighted legis- lative “wants” as well as discuss- ing future and emerging issues of importance to the passenger vessel industry. The following are just a few of the issues that were covered: Sharing the Waterways As you know, PVA leaders and staff have been working with legislators and regulators to draw attention to our crowded waterways. While we firmly believe that our waterways are for all to enjoy, we are increasingly concerned that some recreational users have little or no knowledge of the rules-of-the-road. We also believe that accidents are avoided because of the knowledge and professionalism of commercial mariners. While on the Hill, PVA members urged support for a bill (H.R. 1669), introduced by Congressman Peter King (R-NY-2), that would direct the Coast Guard to analyze various recreational boating training programs, evaluate state recreational boating laws and discuss the possibility of federal guidance, training and testing programs. PVA Members Visit Capitol Hill for the Annual PVA Congres- sional Fly-In. Left to right: Tim McAuliffe,Joanna Reckert, PVA President Bob Lawler, and Erik Grimnes.