First marine economic impact study planned

LANSING, Mich. - The Association of Marina Industries has undertaken a joint initiative with the Recreational Marine Research Center at Michigan State University to conduct a national study - to be sponsored by Brunswick Boat Group - on the economic impact of marinas, AMI president James L. Frye CMM, said yesterday.

In mid-March, over 1,400 marinas across the country will be contacted via e-mail and asked to go online to complete a comprehensive marina survey.

Marinas not receiving this email will be able to access the survey through a joint AMI/RMRC Web site scheduled to go live shortly.

The online survey will collect information on numbers of slips, occupancy rates, numbers of boats kept at marinas, drystack facilities and off-season storage sites. The survey will also ask for information regarding marina amenities and the appraised value of marinas.

“This survey is the most comprehensive attempt ever taken to describe and monitor trends in the marina industry,” Frye said in the AMI release.

Partners joining AMI and the RMRC in the project include the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Michigan Sea Grant and the Great Lakes Commission.

This survey, along with information collected from a national online panel of recreational boaters, will provide data needed to develop a Web-based Marina Economic Impact System. In turn, the Marina Economic Impact System will provide marina operators and industry advocates an easy-to-use tool to produce estimates of the economic contribution of marinas to various economies including sales, salaries and wages, and employment.

The economic impact information can be used to educate elected officials, economic development organizations and community residents about the significant value of marinas as gateways to boating in cities and towns across the country.

“We are extremely pleased that the Brunswick Boat Group has decided to help fund this important industry project,” said Frye. “Brunswick's dedication to the success of the Marina Economic Impact and Values System is indicative of their understanding of the current crisis in boating access, and their desire to grow and improve access across the country.”

“Access to water is an important issue for the marine industry and our efforts to make boating simpler and more enjoyable,” said Dustan E. McCoy, president of the Brunswick Boat Group. “What could be more fundamental to boating than having a place to keep your boat and get on the water? Marinas and waterfront development are vital, yet often unappreciated or underappreciated economic contributors.”

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