The marine industry has a $13.6 billion economic impact on South Florida, according to a study released this week by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. The study, conducted by Thomas J. Murray & Associates, focused on the tri-country area of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
It found that more than 162,000 people in the region were employed in the boating industry in 2005, with wages and earnings of $4.8 billion. Throughout Florida the marine industry has an $18.4 billion impact. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties represent nearly 75 percent of the state's marine economic activity.
"There is no question that this industry is critically important to the state and the region, and while one might think that the industry is strong and that all is well, we are vulnerable," MIASF president Kristina Hebert said in a statement.
For example, from five years ago only 13 out of 19 boatyards remain in Broward County, and nine have received offers from developers looking to convert waterfront property into residential development.
"Conversion of our waterfront marine facilities to residential developments means loss of jobs and a succession of negative impacts on our industry and community," Hebert said.
The 800-member MIASF is a not-for-profit trade organization created to promote and protect the marine industry of South Florida.