Boating Equals $$$

January 2007 News

A university study showed that recreational boating has a $25.6 billion economic impact on this country.


Ed Mahoney of Michigan State University's Recreational Marine Research Center presented the study yesterday at the International Marina and Boatyard Conference.


The survey, conducted at the end of 2005, polled 12,000 people and included power- and sailboats of all lengths.


The money is spent is as follows:

? $3.1 billion on storage,

? $1.8 billion on insurance and

? $4.1 billion on repairs.


To verify the survey's accuracy, Mahoney compared his numbers with industry leaders in individual segments to make sure the figures matched.


The study also looked at how much was spent on day and overnight trips.


On average boaters spent $103 a day for day trips and $588 for overnight trips. That comes out to about $21 billion spent on trips by all boaters each year.


Of that, $4.3 billion is spent on trips from boats stored in marinas, Mahoney said.


This data, he said, can be used to show the economic impact of boating in a specific area, including the trickle-down effect it has on the local economy through areas like shopping, local taxes and jobs.


Mahoney also demonstrated a new boating access monitoring system that he has developed. It's not yet widely available, he said, estimating it would cost about a half-million dollars to get it up and operating.


The system offers a more accurate way to determine water access. Traditional surveying methods are obsolete, he said, noting the data is often outdated before the survey is complete.


The new system relies on registration data, aerial photos and other methods to collect the data and determine where public and private access is available compared to the number of boaters in a certain area. Also, rather than survey each marina in the entire country, the system would look at a sampling of regions.


By combining economic and access data, Mahoney said, industry officials can accurately show lawmakers, on all levels, how significant the marina industry is to this country.


In addition to Mahoney's presentation, attendees yesterday also heard from the National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich, who provided updates on the Grow Boating Initiative. They include new print and TV ads and an expanded media schedule, which is expected to reach more people.


IMBC runs through today.

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