Archive for » March 7th, 2013«

Bring the boats back to Maryland by capping the excise tax

The General Assembly has an opportunity this year to give a big boost to Maryland’s struggling marine industry while also generating additional tax revenues for the fund responsible for upkeep and improvements to the region’s waterways. It’s time us to place a cap on the state’s boat excise tax.

Over the past few years, Maryland has fallen behind our competitor states up and down the East Coast when it comes to how much of a boat’s value should be subject to an excise tax. Neither Delaware nor Rhode Island has a tax. Virginia has long had a cap, limiting boat owners to paying no more than $2,000 in an excise tax, and Florida passed a cap three years ago.

Not surprisingly, Marylanders who own bigger and more expensive boats are increasingly choosing to register them in other states. Even as the nation’s boat sales industry has begun to rebound, Maryland is not seeing the increase in registration of larger recreational boats that is being experienced in many other Atlantic Coast states.

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All of us with ties to Maryland’s marine culture can tell stories of friends and neighbors who have boats based in other states. Unfortunately, when you’re talking about avoiding a boat excise tax of tens of thousands of dollars more than what is required in other states, it makes economic sense. And the Marylanders who can afford to own bigger boats (such as those costing in excess of $200,000) tend to have the financial means to be able to register and maintain their boats elsewhere.

What’s the consequence for Maryland? First and foremost, our excise tax policy is hurting jobs and spending here in our state. In the marine industry, the rule of thumb is that a boat owner spends about 10 percent of a boat’s value each year on maintenance and other work. For a boat worth $500,000, that’s $50,000 of spending at the marinas and boat repair shops in other states, instead of Maryland. And with studies showing that every six boats registered in a state generate the need for one new position in the marine industries, we are talking about a real impact on jobs, too.

Moreover, our state’s decision to continue to apply the state excise tax to the entire value of all boats is actually hurting the overall revenues going to the fund that the excise tax is intended to help.

All of the money collected from the boat excise tax goes into Maryland’s Waterway Improvement Fund, which then offers matching grant money to local jurisdictions for dredging and other projects aimed at improving rivers, harbors and other waterways.

Money going into that fund has been steadily declining, a reflection of a declining number of new boat registrations in Maryland. That decline wasn’t so surprising at the depths of our national recession, when boat sales were off nationally. But as boat sales and registrations have begun picking up over the past two years, we aren’t seeing a similar rebound here in Maryland, at least among boat sales and new boat registrations.

In 2011, Maryland ranked 26th nationally among the overall total value of boat sales. Do we really think that the home of the Chesapeake Bay should be ranked in the bottom half of boat sales in this country?

I believe the solution can be found in legislation proposed by Sen. John Astle and Del. Ron George that would cap the boat excise tax at the first $200,000 of value of a boat. The cap would ensure that owners of expensive boats would still pay $10,000 into the Waterway Improvement Fund but would eliminate the huge financial penalty that drives owners of expensive boats to register them elsewhere and bars them from staying in Maryland waters for more than 90 consecutive days.

After Florida approved its boat sales excise tax cap in 2010, an independent study found that more boat sales stayed in state and the average sale price of boats increased.

We fully expect the same in Maryland. And given the most recent boat sales numbers, we would need to merely get an additional 130 or so boats worth $200,000 or more to come home to Maryland to make up for the Waterway Improvement Fund’s revenue loss — a number that seems like a very modest target.

For our marinas, boat repair centers and other companies that provide services to boats, this is about more than revenue to the state. This is about jobs and local spending. Let’s stop pushing our expensive boats out of state and find a way to keep those dollars here in Maryland.

Gary Jobson, an Annapolis resident, is vice president of the International Sailing Federation and the author of 18 sailing books. His email is garyjobson1@verizon.net.

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    Scituate HS sailing team gets ship shape

    “Go Sailors!” is a common refrain in the halls, gymnasium and fields of Scituate High School.

    The “sailors” mascot heralds Scituate’s long maritime history.

    There’s been only one problem. A true representation of the mascot – a sailing team – did not exist at Scituate High. Until now.

    This spring the Scituate Sailors sailing team will makes its splash on Scituate Harbor. They will sail out of the Maritime Center using the recreation department’s 420 fleet. The team intends to have its first day on the water on March 21, weather permitting.

    The voyage to get this team launched has taken a village. According to co-captains and Scituate High seniors, Maris Marshalka and Kristi MacEachern, the “perfect storm” of people and circumstances has made this a reality.

    Marisa and Kristi grew up sailing and teach the sport for Scituate Recreation during the summers.

    “It’s always been the idea to use the boats that are used during the summer for a sailing team at the high school,” Kristi said. Although other attempts have been made to get a program up and running, they said they all had fallen short of that first day out on the water.

    Marisa and Kristi, by pure coincidence, connected with Norwell resident DR Kwapis on the docks near the Maritime Center. Kwapis was short on sailing crew that evening for the Wednesday night PHRF (big boat) races and he asked them to join his crew for the evening. 

    During the course of the sail Kwapis asked the students a simple question: why doesn’t Scituate High School have a sailing team?

    They didn’t have an answer, but they wanted a solution.

    “We’re the Scituate Sailors and there’s no sailing team,” Marisa said. 

    With a pledge from Kwapis to help get a team started they set out to make it happen.

    “For them to have the vision of wanting to put together the team and actually following through on this, it’s really an exceptional job,” Kwapis said. “This is a harbor town. It has one of the best harbors in New England and Scituate should really be one of the premier sailing communities on the South Shore.”

    Meetings with the high school principal, recreation department, athletic director and Friend of Scituate Recreation followed the initial idea.

    “So many people have been amazing showing support for the kids and the program,” said Rebecca Glancy, who has helped get the program off the ground. She and her husband, David, are involved in the Wednesday night PHRF sailing as well as the Scituate Harbor Junior Regatta.

    “We saw so many kids age out of the sailing program and they had no place to go (in Scituate) and ended up going to Notre Dame or BC High because those schools have a sailing program,” Glancy said.

    Kwapis, who will serve as co-coach with Scituate resident Gregory Morse, met with the Massachusetts Bay League to get Scituate High into the mix with other sailing teams on the South Shore.

    “This season we’re just getting our feet wet,” Marisa said. About 15 students have expressed interest in being part of the team and most of them have sailing experience. Two students will be starting from scratch.

    While many know how to sail, the majority of the students have previously competed in a different style of racing in the past – fleet racing. Most high school sailing competitions are team racing. In fleet racing each boat sails for itself trying to cross the finish line first. But, in team racing, certain combinations of finishes will win the race for the team. Typically the teams face off in three or five races and the best record wins.

    “There are new tactics to learn,” Kristi said.

    They anticipate augmenting the on the water practices with dry land training and classroom lessons.

    “It’s a new way of racing for all of us. It’s going to be a new venue and a new experience,” said co-coach Morse. “As long as we’re on the water we’ll be excited.”

    The team hopes to host at least one regatta on Scituate Harbor.

    There’s still much to be done – sailors need to take a swim test, the 420s need to be outfitted and a chase boat needs to be bought. The Friends of Scituate Recreation held a fundraiser at The River Club this past weekend. About $3,000 is needed to get the team off the ground, the co-captains said.

    Marisa and Kristi said they are excited to have this opportunity to sail for their school during their last season at Scituate High.

     “With teaching at the rec program we see kids in the program and they don’t have any place to sail past sophomore year. This reassures us that they will keep sailing and have the opportunity to sail in Scituate,” Kristi said.

    “It was almost more motivation to me to do this as a senior. It’s our last thing to leave behind (for younger students),” Marisa said.

    For the students, the sailing team is a chance to compete in a sport they’re passionate about.

    “I just love being out on the water. No other sport compares,” Marisa said. “You’re always learning something new.”


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    Boat sales reported within hours of Dubai International Boat Show opening

    Additionally, several superyacht manufacturers have reported solid leads on the first day of the show with big sales expected over the five days.

    Dubai-based Luxury Sea Boats recorded the sale of two of its exclusively distributed American-brand Malibu crafts as the gates opened, according to Dovran Dzuhmaev, Sales Manager, Luxury Sea Boats LLC.

    “We are delighted to have been among the first exhibitors to report sales at this year’s show. The Dubai International Boat show is an excellent platform for us to showcase our exclusively distributed yachts to a wide audience, and we look forward to seeing further sales throughout the show. The marine industry in the region is continuing to pick up speed, and consumer confidence is high at the moment. It is very promising,” he said.

    With more than 430 boats on display and over 780 exhibiting companies and brands, The Dubai International Boat Show, running from 5 – 9 March 2013 at Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi continues to be the leading marine exhibition in the region, with a number of stunning launches, great deals and exciting activities taking place.

    The Dubai International Boat Show is open to trade visitors and the general public from 3pm to 9:30pm daily. General admission is Dhs60 per person for all attendees, while children under 12 will be admitted free of charge (they must be accompanied by an adult at all times). Access to the Marina Display Area may be restricted at certain times.


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    Palm Beach boat show nears curtain time – Sun

    In just two weeks, the 28th Palm Beach International Boat Show will open to showcase more than $1.2 billion worth of boats, yachts and accessories, according to show organizers.

    This year, the annual boating extravaganza runs March 21-24 along Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach and will feature hundreds of boats, including small inflatables, center consoles, fishing boats and super-yachts more than 200 feet long.

    An array of exotic cars will also be on display for the landlubbers to enjoy.

    Installation of the floating docks to accommodate in-water boats is expected to begin Friday.

    Longtime show exhibitors in South Florida are prepping for curtain time, and making sure enough inventory is on hand to take advantage of the recent upward trend in boat sales.

    For some, like Anchor Yacht Sales in Fort Lauderdale, which had planned to display three boats at the show, sales are going so well that they could run out of new boat inventory before opening day.

    “We’re pretty much sold out,” company President Sandy Roberts said Wednesday, noting that one boat had recently sold and there was strong interest in another. “Business is very good.”

    Still, Roberts expects to have a 72-foot Hampton Endurance 2014 long-range cruiser, going for a little more than $4 million, at the show, as well as a 52-foot Cape May cruising sedan, priced at $850,000.

    “We’re hoping the economy stays strong and people will want to continue enjoying themselves” with activities like boating, Roberts said.

    Others agree that sales of boats and marine-related products have been improving, albeit steadily.

    “We’re seeing a nice, gradual increase in sales overall,” said Steve Prague, vice president of Tuppen’s Marine Tackle in Lake Worth, another long-time exhibitor. “We definitely expect to close deals at the show.”

    Sprague’s optimism is buoyed by the company’s sales of several boats at recent Miami and Fort Lauderdale boat shows.

    This year, Tuppen’s will have a bigger space at the West Palm Beach show to display about 40 boats, several of which will be new boat lines for the company. It also plans to unveil a handful of new products in its in-door tent, including a $299 pair of sunglasses with built-in video and sound.

    “We’re really looking forward to this year’s show,” Sprague said.

    Last year’s event generated sales of $76.5 million for show exhibitors from Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, and $99.7 million overall for the Florida-based companies that participated, according to a recent economic impact study.

    The show produced an estimated $125 million in marine product sales for all exhibitors.

    The findings of the study were released in October by the boat show’s owner, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County.

    “We’re hoping for boating weather,” Mike Antheil, executive director of the trade group, said of expectations for the show, which typically attracts about 42,000 attendees.

    That’s in addition to a continued rebound in new-boat sales, which jumped 11 percent in 2012, Antheil said.

    The boat show, which is touted as one of the top 10 in the nation, is managed and produced by Fort Lauderdale-based Show Management, which also produces the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and several others statewide.


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    SAILING : Weekend regatta will be a throwback

    Basic seat-of-the-pants sailing will reign Saturday and Sunday when the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club hosts the Southern California Yachting Association’s annual E.E. Manning Regatta, a throwback to the sport’s simpler past.

    Many of the approximate 200 adult and youth competitors in more than a hundred boats will be following their parents and grandparents in the event’s format that was founded in 1935.

    Competition is limited to one- and two-person dinghies with body weight only for ballast. Classes forming include double-handed Club Flying Junior (CFJ) and Lido 14s, alongside single-handed Finns, Laser Full and Laser Radial, with reduced sail area, and low-key Naples Sabots.

    The event also is the fourth and final stop of the Shadden Series tour of Southern California following regattas at Marina del Rey, Newport Beach and San Diego.

    Fifty teams with boys and girls under the age of 19 are racing CFJs in the series that was launched in 1991 in the name of John Shadden, one of Long Beach’s premier youth sailors whose career peaked with an Olympic silver medal performance in 1988. Shadden, still a Long Beach resident, shared that Olympic success with Mike Segerblom, who is now executive director of the US Sailing Center in Long Beach and will be principal race officer this weekend.

    Three teams from Del Rey Yacht Club top the Shadden Series standings. Christopher Weis and crew Dot Obei, with seven first-place finishes in 16 races so far,

    appear to have an insurmountable lead.

    The schedule for all classes calls for four races Saturday and three Sunday. Racing will be on the outer harbor inside the breakwater, except for the Lidos and Sabots that will race inside on the bay. Racing will start at noon each day, weather permitting.

    The Manning regatta is raced annually at ABYC. It first was contested in 1935 to honor E.E. Manning, a member of the Los Angeles YC who during his lifetime was an active sponsor and promoter of dinghy racing.

    The Manning trophy is awarded to the winner of the class with the most competitors.


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    MarineMax Inc. buys Orlando, Daytona Parker Boat Co. dealerships










    Anjali Fluker
    Senior Staff Writer- Orlando Business Journal

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    Parker Boat Co., an Orlando family-owned boat retailer, has been snapped up buy a publicly traded firm.

    Clearwater-based MarineMax Inc. (NYSE: HZO), the nation’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer, announced it bought Parker Boat’s retail boat sales and service operations in Orlando and Daytona Beach for an undisclosed price, said a news release. With the lease of the two Central Florida dealerships, MarineMax now has 55 stores nationwide.

    MarineMax also with the purchase has exclusive distribution rights for the Sea Ray product line for Florida, along with additional distribution territory for Boston Whaler, Grady-White, Sea Hunt Boats and other brands, the release said.

    See the full release here.

    Parker Boat, which started in Orlando 85 years ago, expanded into Daytona Beach in 2007.

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