Florida Statewide Boating Conference Returns May 15-17

After a six-year hiatus, Florida’s statewide boating and waterway management conference “From Stem to Stern” returns May 15-17 in Clearwater Beach.

Whether new or experienced, attendees will learn the absolute most up-to-date information on proven techniques and sound strategies they can use to navigate the challenges facing boating and waterways management in the months ahead. Planners, resource managers, waterway users, marina operators, industry reps, harbor masters, city managers, elected officials, law enforcement, policy makers, researchers — nearly 200 are expected to attend.

Brunswick Corporation CEO Dusty McCoy and Herschel T. Vinyard, secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, will address attendees.

Conference chair Betty Staugler of the Florida Sea Grant Program says the conference has returned by popular demand. “Attendees at the initial conference in 2006 emphasized the importance of networking and meeting to learn about effective efforts in managing waterway resources, and they wanted to meet again.” From Stem to Stern II was originally planned for 2009, but was postponed because cutbacks in state spending and the general economic downturn made it difficult for many registrants to attend, Staugler says.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the University of Florida are also sponsoring the conference. The agenda of invited speakers represent recognized experts with years of hands-on experience in every aspect of Florida’s boating and waterway sectors, Staugler says.

“They will emphasize real-world, practical applications and solutions to key issues, such as innovative funding ideas for waterway access improvements, updates on state legislation affecting navigation and working waterfront communities, and the state’s anchoring and mooring program being tested in five pilot cities.”

The conference also provides an excellent opportunity for organizations and companies to become an active partner as a sponsor and as an exhibitor. Sponsorships range from $2,500 to $500, with corresponding benefits. “This is an opportunity for organizations and companies to increase their recognition and awareness, and strengthen their prominence as a leader in Florida’s boating and waterways community,” Staugler says. They can also showcase new products and services, and enhance product awareness in the meeting’s display area.

Attendees who register by April 2 can take advantage of an early-bird rate of $100, a substantial discount on the onsite price. The conference website is http://www.flseagrant.org/boating/StemtoStern/. The conference takes place at the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key. A discounted room rate of $93 per night is available to attendees.