DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER
December 3, 2007
The year is 1970. An engineering handbook published by the State of California advises marina designers that the “design boat,” or median-size boat for marina planning, is 29.5 feet long. It seemed reasonable at the time.
It’s easy to find amusing and shortsighted what planners trusted in 1970. It’s much harder to predict the future over the 40 to 50 year life span of our new or remodeled marinas.
The boatbuilding industry is enjoying an economic boom in larger vessels, especially mega yachts 30 meters (98 feet) and longer. The effects are being felt in our US marinas and all over the world. Where are the slips for all these new boats?
The news is not good. There are actually fewer slips in the US each year. A remodeled marina will have 8% to 15% fewer slips than before the remodel. The pages of Marina Dock Age celebrate new marinas built and remodeled in every issue, but existing marinas are being torn down, never to be replaced. Often the waterfront is lost to boating by developers motivated by “highest-use” projects that offer a better ROI. It is estimated that the number of slips nationwide drops 4% to 5% annually, year after year.
Fortunately, the boat building industry is catching on, getting alarmed at the consequences, and entering the game. The National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) is now an active political ally in the fight to preserve the waterfront for boating. Lobbying pressure from the NMMA advocates for marina land and waterfront use, and argues that an important, vibrant industry will be devastated if our recreational marinas are lost to real estate developers and no-growth environmentalists.
**FOR COMPLETE COPY OF THE ARTICLE DOWNLOAD THE PDF**
MAGAZINE: Boat and Motor Dealer
ISSUE: December 2007