Marina damage could hit $100M
, NMMA says
The National Marine
Manufacturers Association is calling on the White House to include marinas
and boat access areas as part of any redevelopment of the Gulf Coast
region devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
NMMA says marina infrastructure damage alone could total $100 million, and that if boating
access is not fully restored, thousands could face permanent loss of their jobs.
NMMA also estimates that boaters who don’t use marinas
, particularly those with trailerable boats, rely on public access sites for launching. It estimates $2 billion annually is spent on boating-related expenses in the region — including maintenance
— and says hundreds of public access sites probably have been damaged.
The information was collected by NMMA and the Recreational Maine Research
Center at Michigan State University from several national surveys. NMMA says the research
points up the importance of boating
to local economies, lifestyles and overall appeal of the affected communities.
“We know the recreational boating industry contributes substantially to the Gulf Coast
region’s economy and are working to ensure the Bush administration realizes how vital it is for there to be a full restoration
of the boating infrastructure,” said NMMA president Thom Dammrich, in a statement. “Without the inclusion of marinas, boat ramps and other water
access points in redevelopment efforts, there is a real potential for serious economic damage to Gulf Coast communities.”
Citing Florida’s experience over the past year, NMMA says there is a strong possibility of Gulf Coast boating sites being converted to alternative uses. If that happens, boating businesses, the tourism economy and the overall attractiveness of these areas all will suffer, NMMA warns.
Many marinas and dealerships in the region are small, family-owned businesses without the capital to rebuild
, NMMA points out. Coupled with rising coastal property values, that makes conversion to non-boating use even more likely, the trade
“While damages from Hurricane Katrina are still being assessed, it’s fair to estimate that it will likely take months and years to rebuild
the recreational boating industry in that part of the country,” said Dammrich. “Regardless of any damage, boaters will want to come back to the water
once their lives can return to some sense of normalcy, so it’s critical that we rebuild water access and services.” That, he said, would restore, and possibly strengthen, the Gulf Coast economy.
In 2003 there were nearly 771,000 registered boats in Louisiana, Mississippi
combined. In addition, these hurricane-affected states accounted for more than $725 million in new powerboat, engine
and accessory sales in 2004.
The estimates of marina damage does not include lost
, which NMMA says could have an even greater economic impact if boating businesses are not restored.