- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2005

Trade association veteran Maureen A. Healey recently signed on to lead the Personal Watercraft Industry Association, a Washington trade group advocating the use of small watercraft vehicles.

The trade group, an affiliate of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), represents four manufacturers: Bombardier Recreational Products, which makes Sea-Doos; American Honda Motor Co., which makes Aqua Trax; Kawasaki Motor Corp. USA, which makes Jet Skis; and Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, which makes the WaveRunner.

Ms. Healey, 49, is executive director of the association. She spent the past 16 years at the Society of the Plastics Industry, a Washington trade group for 2,000 plastics businesses.

At the plastics organization, Ms. Healey most recently served as government affairs vice president, handling the state and federal regulatory issues.

Ms. Healey said she joined the personal watercraft organization because she enjoys using smaller water vehicles and has the qualifications for the job.

In addition to lobbying Congress to ease regulations that limit the use of small power boats, Ms. Healey said, she is working to form a more positive public image of the industry.

“We have to remove the negative stigma there is on the personal watercraft industry. People still have this snapshot of what these vehicles were like 10 or 12 years ago,” when most of the water recreational vehicles required riders to stand and had louder jet engines that released more pollution, Ms. Healey said.

About 1.4 million personal watercraft vehicles are in use today, NMMA says.

The newer models follow standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, have quieter engines and are going beyond recreational use, Ms. Healey said.

The Department of Homeland Security is increasingly using small boats for harbor security, she said.

Monita Fontaine, government relations vice president for the NMMA, said Ms. Healey was a top choice because of her background with Congress.

“Her skills in working with officials at the national and state levels will benefit all of us in the boating industry,” Ms. Fontaine said.

Ms. Healey lives in Alexandria.

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