Gulf Coast boaters may be moving inland

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Business for marinas in northern Alabama may be picking up in the wake of last year’s hurricane season, as boat owners weary of the damage and disruption consider moving inland.

One possible destination for boat owners from the Gulf Coast is Huntsville, Ala. Many are checking the city out as a potential new home for themselves and their vessels, according to a story yesterday in the Huntsville Times.

“They’ve been through several hurricanes, and they’re sick of it,” said Christy Martin, a member of the Huntsville-Madison County Marina and Port Authority.

Martin, who also works as a yacht broker, told the authority Wednesday night that inquiries about area marinas have picked up at recent boat shows and through calls to Huntsville’s Ditto Landing marina, the Times reported.

Martin said the vessel owners seem lured by the cleanliness of the Tennessee River, the relative low cost of living in Alabama and the ability to navigate to and from the coast via the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway, Warrior River and Gulf of Mexico.

Many are retired and seem willing to relocate to escape the hassles of battening down for each storm. Martin said marina inquiries are also coming in from boat owners who will be relocating here through the Pentagon’s military base restructuring plan. Huntsville stands to gain approximately 4,500 defense jobs and as many support contractors, according to the newspaper.

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