Archive for » June 13th, 2013«

Recreational Boating: a $121-billion Economic Driver for U.S.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), announced that recreational boating in the U.S. has an annual economic value of $121 billion. The industry’s rising tide supports 964,000 American jobs and 34,833 businesses, generates $40 billion in annual labor income and drives $83 billion in annual spending.

The NMMA, on behalf of the U.S. boating industry, released these findings today as part of its annual U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, a collection of data and analysis on the state of the U.S. recreational boating industry. Additional data highlights include:

New Boat Sales
-Retail sales of new power and sailboats increased 10.7% in 2012 to 163,245, demonstrating a post-recession recovery for the industry.
-New powerboat sales increased 10% to 157,300 in 2012.
-New sailboat sales increased 29.2% to 5,945 in 2012.

-Small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less in size, continued their upward climb with an 11.3% increase in the number of new boats sold. Outboard boats are the most popular type of new powerboat sold, making up approximately 82% of the market.
-Ski and wakeboard boats are seeing healthy growth with an increase of 13.4% new boats sold in 2012.
-Jet boats, which are small fiberglass boats less than 26 feet in length, are a growing category. Of the 157,300 new powerboats sold in 2012, 4,500 were jet boats. New jet boat sales increased 36.4% in 2012.

What’s Ahead
Sales of new powerboats have remained steady during the first half of 2013 and continued growth is expected with the summer boating season. NMMA anticipates sales of new powerboats to grow 5% in 2013.

“Summer is a peak selling season for recreational boats, accessories and services throughout the U.S. as people look for ways to disconnect from the daily grind and enjoy fun times on the water, “ said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “New boat sales have historically been a barometer for the U.S. economy and the steady sales increases we’re seeing is being reinforced by the slow uptick in consumer confidence, housing and spending. As economic growth continues, we anticipate sustained steady growth through the remainder of 2013.”

Boating Participation
Of the estimated 232.3 million adults in the U.S. in 2012, 37.8%, or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during the year. This is a 6% increase from 2011 and the largest number of U.S. adults participating in boating since NMMA began collecting the data in 1990. Recreational boating participation has steadily increased since 2006.

Helping People Discover Boating
Growing participation is a priority for the recreational boating industry as it drives new boat sales. Boat manufacturers, dealers, marinas, and other marine organizations joined together to form Discover Boating, a consumer program to grow participation and create a positive boating experience. The North American effort provides resources to help those interested in boating get started and promotes the fun of the boating lifestyle through a national marketing campaign.

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Sailing students learn from Charleston champs

The coaches of the national co-ed sailing champions are showing the ropes to some new kids on the dock.

The College of Charleston sailing, headed by director Greg Fisher, finished Thursday its first of two summer advanced racing clinics. The clinic hosted 20 teenagers, most of them in high school who have had some experience sailing.

Fisher said he was proud to partner with the U.S.S. Yorktown for what Patriots Point Director of Education Keith Grybowski called “rock star treatment” for the kids.

“We’ve done clinics in the past and they were well attended, but it hasn’t drawn this talent level or diversity of walks of life until we partnered with the Yorktown,” Fisher said. “That has been really cool, and we hope it’s the beginning of a great relationship.”

Students in the clinic sleep in the crew’s quarters aboard the Yorktown, with the marina and sailing lessons a few minutes away.

Chris McCaffrey, 13, of Atlanta got the chance for new sailing experiences, even sailing one of his favorite boats for the first time.

“We had really great coaching,” he said.

McCaffrey said he’s excited that he will be able to sail on teams as he gets older.

“I might start a high school team,” he said.

The cost of the clinic is $600 for the three-day clinic. The second clinic is scheduled for July 23-25.

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From the Boathouse: Watch out for suspicious boats

Ahoy, and summer officially begins next Friday!

Does anyone find it surprising that a sailboat carrying 80 to 90 bales of marijuana was beached in Newport Harbor after a brief chase by the Coast Guard? This occurred at 1 a.m. on June 3 after the drug smugglers entered the harbor and refused to allow the Coast Guard personnel to board the sailboat. Finally, the boat was run aground on Balboa Island, and two people leapt from the vessel only to disappear in the night.

This is not surprise to me and nor is it a surprise to law enforcement. Almost weekly, a panga from Mexico is found deserted along Southern California’s coast or seized by authorizes. Either drugs or human trafficking is being smuggled into the U.S., and I have written for years that our southern ocean border is wide open to allow this activity.

The smugglers are going farther out to sea before turning north to avoid the radar system in San Diego and any law enforcement boats that I usually see patrolling between the mainland and Coronado Islands on the U.S. side of the International border.

I have warned in my previous columns for boaters to be careful approaching disabled vessels in the Pacific Ocean because of the potential of being hijacked by smugglers. Boaters should contact the Coast Guard if they spot a panga or any suspicious vessels operating along our coastline. Unfortunately, a Coast Guardsman was killed last year when his patrol boat was rammed by the smugglers.

However, it is not just pangas being used to transport drugs or people as demonstrated by the individuals who fled from the sailboat. Yachts have used to smuggle people across the border and usually in very unsafe vessels with no life jackets, little food and water and engines that barely operate. Additionally, these vessels carry extra fuel in containers on deck and this creates a potentially explosive environment onboard.

I want every boater to be aware when cruising the ocean waters this summer. Again, if you see a boat in distress, then approach the vessel with caution and notify the Coast Guard immediately of the situation either by your VHF marine radio on channel 16 or call 877-24WATCH.

On another topic that is good news for recreational boating, the National Marine Manufacturers Assn. (NMMA) announced this week that at least 88 million Americans will go boating this year. An estimated 88 million people participate in boating in 2012, and the number of people floating on the water is increasing annually.

Boat sales were up in 2012 with aluminum hull boats showing an uptick in sales along with increased sales for powerboats and sailboats. Boating is a huge economic generator to the nation and NMMA is reporting the value to be $121 billion and 964,000 American jobs. Annually, NMMA publicizes the Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract loaded with tons of data about the industry.

The recreational marine industry may be recovering from the severe economic downturn of the past few years, and the increase in sales is a great sign. Additionally, it is almost officially summer and people want to get back on the water. Remember, the next time you go boating then take a friend for the first time.

Tip of the week is that the U.S. Coast Pilot books are now online and in digital format for you to download for free. The new digital versions are updated every week, and you can download any of the nine volumes for the area where you will be boating.

The NOAA will still produce the hard copies of the Coast Pilot, but updates will no longer be included in the weekly Local Notice to Mariners ( Additionally, there is a link to historical publications dating back to the American Coast Pilot’s first edition that was released in 1796. For those cruising to distance ports, there is a link to a digital version of distances between United States ports that is very helpful when trip planning your route and fuel stops.

The digital Coast Pilots and the other links are available at So, download and review the Coast Pilot of the waters where you will be cruising this summer.

Please be boat smart and boat safe. Lastly, please boat responsibly and look behind you before the turn the wheel at the helm.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, “Boathouse Radio Show,” broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network. See times at and

Safe Voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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On the Burlington City waterfront, it’s smooth sailing for Curtin Marina

BURLINGTON CITY — In 1950, Constans “Connie” Curtin fulfilled a dream and opened Curtin Marina here. Since then, many a happy boater has launched a summer of fun from its Delaware River location.

Curtin died in 2006 and the marina’s ownership moved on to his five children. Today, two of them, Carroll and Ellen, run the operation, which includes Curtin’s Wharf, an open-air restaurant where diners are soothed by light, westerly breezes and stunning river views.

Many of its tables overlook a back channel of the Delaware River, where it is bisected by Burlington Island.

Both women, Beverly residents, started work at the eating establishment when they were 12, Ellen as a cook and Carroll behind the cash register. “It was tiny then, about 20 seats,’’ said Carroll Curtin.

Now, it can accommodate 150 and although most are what the sisters call “land people,’’ the seasonal restaurant, open mid-May through Labor Day, is one of the few in the area that is accessible by water. About 20 percent of the diners tie their boats at its dock before coming in for a meal.

Spread over approximately 9 acres on East Pearl Street, the facility provides 100 slips and service, storage and repair for a variety of boats. Sailboats, inboards, outboards, cruisers and jet ski boats, from 16 to 40 feet, can be seen tied at its piers.

Henry Hoyt Jr., 75, began working in the yard when he was 14 and has spent his life there. Now the manager, his duties include operating the cranes, overseeing winter and outside storage, towing boats and responding to emergencies as needed.

“It’s not unusual to get a call from someone who is out by the Burlington-Bristol Bridge,’’ Hoyt said, referring to the span which is about ½-mile away. The call for help may be prompted by a small mishap, a dead battery or an empty gas tank.

There have been many changes since the early days, said the man who grew up nearby and remembers when the area was all mud flats.

Hoyt’s work day begins the same each morning, with a walk along the docks, checking the boats for any problems. From there on, every day is different, he said.

Both Curtin women have noticed a sharp increase in business this year, one they hope portends an improved economy.

“For the first time in five years, all our slips are full and we have a waiting list,’’ Ellen Curtin said.

While their work life peaks during the summer months, they look to winter sports, like skiing, for relaxation. Colorado is a favorite destination.

Last weekend, Curtin’s celebrated National Marina Day with a picnic and special programs. “It began five years ago to educate the public about the need to respect our waterways while enjoying them,’’ said Ellen Curtin.

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Brokerage sales hit milestone in May

Brokerage sales hit milestone in May

Posted on 11 June 2013


U.S. brokers saw a boost in business in May, selling more boats than in any single month since 2007.

Sales had gradually improved in March and April, compared with 2012, but in May they climbed significantly with 3,730 boats reported sold by YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in their proprietary database at This was well above the five-year May average of 3,293 and more than 100 above 2012, when 3,589 were sold.

Sailboat sales continued to be relatively strong with 607 sold, a 5 percent increase from May 2012. More important for the market as a whole, sales of powerboats rose 4 percent to 3,123.

Better sales were reported among all sizes of boats 45 feet and shorter, with 2,691 closings for boats under 35 feet, a 4 percent gain. In the 36- to 45-foot range, sales were 3 percent higher with 759 boats sold. The only size range that had lower sales was 46 to 55 feet, which was down three boats, compared with May 2012, with 178 sold.

Big-boat sales also were strong. Among superyachts (boats over 80 feet), 20 were sold, up 10 from the year before. And in the 56- to 79-foot size range, 82 boats changed hands, up from 76.

The total value of boats sold in May rose by $98 million, mainly on the strength of superyacht sales (up $91 million). By contrast, boats 56 to 79 feet sold at a total price that was $6 million, or 10 percent, below the previous May. The market under 55 feet made up the difference with a total value gain of $13 million.

Through the first five months of the year, overall sales were 1 percent lower than in 2012, with 12,659 boats sold. The total value of the boats sold was 15 percent higher with $1.66 billion changing hands.

A more detailed report summarizing recent U.S. brokerage sales will appear in the July issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— John Burnham editorial director

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Junior sailing lessons to start

Summer Junior Sailing Lessons, presented by Sail Orcas and hosted by the Orcas Island Yacht Club, are just around the corner, starting June 24.

For the past 20 years Orcas youth ages eight to 15 have been introduced to the sport of sailing through this popular program, which focuses on teaching sailing skills in a safe and fun environment. With a variety of boats, including Vanguard Prams, Lasers, and six Open Bics, the program can accommodate beginners and experienced sailors anxious to expand their skills.

Orcas grown sailors Annalies Schuh, assisted by Jules Mann and Cameron Schuh, will head up the instruction this summer. For more information


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