NMMA receives USCG research grant

CHICAGO – The National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Foundation for Recreational Boating Safety, Education and Environmental Awareness has received a $125,000 grant from the United States Coast Guard to launch the second phase of a study to improve upon current statistical information available on recreational boating, NMMA said in a release yesterday.

During Phase I of the State of Recreational Boating research study, the Recreational Marine Research Center, an organization managed jointly by NMMA and Michigan State University, identified more than 1,200 existing studies and articles currently available that deal specifically with recreational boating. RMRC also developed an online database of this available research that will be made accessible in September 2004.

The study arrived at four conclusions, which will form the basis of its Phase II portion:

  • There has been a decrease in the amount of boating research being conducted.
  • A need exists to coordinate and strategically focus boating research resources.
  • Accurate state boating statistics are difficult to secure.
  • Significant benefits would be gained by developing and demonstrating a framework for collecting data related to the economic impact of boating.
  • “In Phase II of this study we will identify current holes in existing research and will convene a stakeholder symposium to develop a National Boating Research Agenda and a strategy for encouraging financial support for these research initiatives,” said NMMA Market Statistics director Jim Petru.

    The symposium will be held in November 2004 and will involve various boating agencies (USCG, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and organizations (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Sea Grant) that conduct, fund and utilize boating research, NMMA said.

    In addition, Michigan State University’s Dr. Ed Mahoney, who serves as co-director of RMRC, says that a template will be developed during Phase II to act as a model for analyzing the economic impact recreational boating has at congressional and state levels.

    “We will create a Recreational Boating Facts Book for three different high activity boating states [to be determined at a later date]” Mahoney said. “The report will track the number of registered boats and boaters, estimates on the number of boating days, number and types of boating businesses, and other pertinent statistical information.”

    Mahoney and Petru are responsible for overall management of the Phase II study. For information, contact Petru at (312) 946-6202; jpetru@nmma.org.

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