FWC report: Boating's economic engine may shift gears
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Media contact: Pat Harrell, 850-488-5600
A recently released report commissioned by the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), titled
"Florida Boating Access Facilities Inventory and Economic Study,"
revealed the importance of boating to Florida's economy.
However, as good as boating is for the economy, the report
indicated there is a need to address critical boating
infrastructure now to continue to adequately accommodate boating
activities in the future.
The report showed that spending related to
recreational boating trips supports 97,000 jobs in Florida, with
recreational boater expenditures totaling $8.5 billion. This
represents about 50 percent of the total jobs and spending
associated with Florida's diverse marine industry.
"That's big money and not something the state
should be willing to give up," said Pat Harrell of the FWC's
Boating and Waterways Section. "Because of an aging population, it
is predicted that Florida's boating could decrease by nearly 2
percent. If we are able to meet the demands of changing
demographics, it is possible for the state to see less or no
decline in boating demand."
The 572-page report includes an inventory and
assessment of recreational boating-access facilities and documents
the economic significance of recreational boating. It will be used
for public and private planning and decision-making in determining
where boat ramps, marinas, boat storage and other boating
infrastructure should be located. The project also will result in a
database that contains records for more than 3,100 boat ramps
throughout the state, of which 51 percent are open to the public.
The FWC will develop an interactive website that will allow
boaters, public officials and researchers to get current regional
information on boating access from real-time resources.
By seeing these trends for demand now, the FWC can
help ensure Florida meets the boating demand of the
future. The FWC provides grants to local governments for
boat ramps and other boat-access infrastructure. The agency's goal
is to encourage, promote and support projects that provide safe,
high-quality and environmentally sound public recreational boat
access to Florida waterways.
To view the report, visit MyFWC.com/About and click
on "Economic Benefits."