4 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 • FOGHORN 2018 In Review What a year this has been for me personally and professionally, as well as our industry and Association. As I reflect on the past 12 months, I am reminded of a longer look back at what is now the Passenger Vessel Association, the organization that I am deeply proud of and humbled to have served this year as president. In March 1971, the Waterways Journal carried the following story: New Association Formed by Passenger Boat Owners A number of firms operating inland passenger and excursion boats formed a new group, the National Association of Passenger Vessel Owners, at an organizational meeting at the Bel Air East motel in St. Louis March 15. Officers elected at the meeting are: president, Capt. William D. Bowell Padelford Packet Boat Co.; vice president, Capt. Dennis Trone, Sangamon Packet Company and Jack Trotter, Arkansas River Charter Inc. Some of the main aims of the association include: fostering a closer relationship between members, to facilitate the exchange of ideas, methods and information pertaining to administra- tion and operation of the passenger vessel business; initiating a liaison with the U.S. Coast Guard to develop mutual confi- dence between inspecting officers and vessel owners regarding matters of regulations and interpretations of regulations; and developing a better understanding of the owners’position under maritime law. It has been an honor to follow Capt. Bowell and serve as the 2018 PVA President. By and large the original mission statement of the Association remains relevant. The Association has grown more significantly than the founders could have ever imagined 47 years ago. PVA is a member-driven association, comprised of the smallest, hardest working staff inside the beltway. I cannot imagine trying to keep up with future and pending legislation, rule making, security requirements and regulatory changes without the assistance of these hard working folks. Whether it’s advocacy on the Hill for legislative issues or regulatory affairs, safety and security or legal help, PVA staff and volunteers are on hand to be sure that the best interests of the passenger vessel industry are considered. Our membership continues to grow, signaling an econom- ically healthy passenger vessel industry. We have aggres- sively pursued the following objectives in 2018. PVA Board of Directors and PVA’s Permanent Reserve Fund During the PVA Board of Directors Meeting, Board members continued work to address a question that came up during the Business Meeting during the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2018 in Savannah. The question was basically how much should PVAmaintain in its permanent reserves or “rainy day” fund? To help answer this question, Joan Renner from CPA firm, Renner and Company, was tasked with conducting a risk-based analysis exercise to determine an appropriate financial reserve level for our association. The process identified inherent financial risks that the Association might face, and then quantified those risks. A survey was sent to PVA Board members prior to this exercise to get their opinions about potential risk factors facing the association. The Board analyzed and prioritized the survey data. After a great deal of discussion, the Board passed a motion to direct the PVA Finance Committee to take this informa- tion and develop a formula that will ultimately be used to set a reserve fund target and then report back to the Board for their consideration. I found this exercise to be particularly instructive and very important to the effective long-term management of our organization. We will highlight this work for the PVA member- ship during the Business Meeting at the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2019 in New Orleans. I hope to see you there. PVA/Coast Guard Quality Partnership (QP) Meeting We appreciate meeting with key U/S Coast Guard leaders twice a year at the QP as it gives us an opportunity to have meaningful discussions about issues impacting industry. Also, quite a few non-regulatory work products have emerged from this activity; most recently the Slips, Trips and Falls Report, which is intended to help passenger vessel operators reduce these types of accidents. Thanks to Ed Vaughn, Dejong & Lebet, LLC, Jacksonville, FL for attending this meeting to report on his work with the Coast Guard on guidelines for using lithium-ion batteries. Legislative Advocacy We are pleased to see our advocacy efforts pay off with the Congressional approval and enactment of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA). This legislation made permanent the small vessel exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Vessel General Permit (VGP). This action is justified by an earlier EPA report to Congress that showed that such discharges from “smaller” vessels have minimal impact. Additionally, the passage of the Coast Guard Authorization Act included several other provisions for which PVA has vigorously advocated. These include: directing the Commandant of the Coast Guard to improve consistency in interpretation of regulations and standards by Coast Guard marine inspectors; easing the 2010 law LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT Gus Gaspardo PRESIDENT, CONTINUED ON PAGE 49