Bahamas benefiting from Florida’s slip shortage

FREEPORT, Bahamas – Plans are in place to expand or build nearly 20 marinas in the Bahamas, growing its total number of slips from about 3,100 to 5,700 and potentially grabbing the attention of boaters feeling squeezed by South Florida’s slip shortage, according to an articletoday in the Miami Herald.

“Florida is sold out,” developer Eddie Lauth told the newspaper. “The Bahamas is getting a great second look because it’s not crowded. It’s pristine and it’s drop-dead gorgeous.”

It’s also often less expensive for boaters – at least before adding in the cost of a round-trip airfare, something Bahamian tourism officials are trying to lower by working with the airlines.

Lauth is among the businesspeople who expect to benefit from attracting what the newspaper refers to as the “overflow of boaters from South Florida” to the Bahamas. He plans to build two marinas on the island of Eleuthera, and he’s joined by developers like Montana Holdings, which recently broke ground on Rum Cay Resort Marina – a $70 million project that includes 80 boat slips, according to the newspaper.

This new development has South Florida’s boating industry – one of the region’s largest business sectors – concerned. Marine Industries Association of South Florida Executive Director Frank Herhold told the newspaper he’d like the local government to offer new marinas tax breaks and other incentives in an effort to reduce the slip shortage, keeping more boaters and the revenue they generate for the local economy in South Florida.

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