East Coast– and now The Gulf – Threatened

Viking and the entire marine industry ramped up their efforts in the Nation’s Capital last week to stop the federal government’s proposed 10-knot restriction along the Eastern Seaboard, while also alerting Congress to a new petition for a similar speed limit in the Gulf of Mexico. Above: Viking Director of Government Affairs and Sustainability, John DePersenaire – speaking to boating and fishing leaders, members of Congress and the media – presented an in-depth report about NOAA Fisheries’ changes to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule, which would call for a 10-knot speed limit from Massachusetts to Florida for boats 35 feet and larger. This would affect the entire Viking fleet as well as the Valhalla Boatworks V-37V-41V-46 and V-55.

John also provided an update on the progress of the Whale and Vessel Safety (WAVS) Task Force, a Viking initiative consisting of a panel of experts committed to finding technology-based solutions to track marine mammals, particularly the right whale. Finally, he explained that a petition for rulemaking put forth by several environmental groups through NOAA proposes a year-round, 10-knot restriction for ALL BOATS in a large region off the of coast Alabama and the Florida panhandle (the core habitat of the Rice’s whale).

“We made significant strides in Washington, making policymakers aware of our plight and that we want to be part of a more reasonable, science-based solution,” said John. “But now we have two battles on our hands that call for action from all facets of the boating and fishing community.”

Below are two Calls to Action that will allow you to weigh in on both rules – and please weigh in heavily, explaining specifically why you object to the rules. The comment period for the Rice’s whale petition ends on July 6.





These rules, which deny access to the ocean and raise serious safety, privacy and economic impact concerns, are certainly one of the greatest threats recreational boating and fishing has ever faced. Reacting to the Rice’s Whale restriction, Viking President and CEO Pat Healey said: “We’re faced with another speed restriction put forth without our input. It’s craziness. We all have to work together for a solution to help the right whale and Rice’s whale.”

Viking and hundreds of marine industry leaders united in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill for the industry’s premier advocacy event – the American Boating Congress (ABC).

Along with John, Viking’s Justin Healey was in the thick of it all, even spending an extra day on Capitol Hill speaking to members of Congress, raising their awareness to the catastrophic impact the speed restrictions would have.

Above: Justin (far right, upper panel) speaking with Congressman John Rutherford, R-Fl., during a Center for Sportfishing Policy (CSP) general session. “I believe we had a major impact with members of Congress,” says Justin, a CSP board member. “They thanked us for coming to Washington. Congressman Jerry Carl from Alabama said, ‘just because we’re here in D.C. doesn’t mean we are aware of all of these issues’ and he thanked Viking and the industry.”

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