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Will budget cuts hit the marine industry hard?

The economic enthusiasm for the Trump administration is quickly turning to concern about whose favorite programs will see serious cuts or disappear entirely. For the marine industry, it’s likely we’ll face hard decisions about where to put our legislative muscle and where to abandon a position that can’t succeed.

For example, credible early reports from the Associated Press and the Washington Post indicate the draft plan of the Office of Management and Budget is calling for major cuts to budgets of the Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.

OK, I’ll agree to forego the thrill of a hands-on TSA body rub at the airport. But the other proposed cuts, like a 14 percent cut for the Coast Guard, would hit home. Last year the Coast Guard conducted 16,343 search-and-rescue missions; assisted 24,089 people; saved 5,174 lives; patrolled 3.4 million square miles of the U.S. Economic Exclusionary Zone to stop illegal fishing by foreign vessels; boarded more than 4,600 U.S. vessels to enforce fishing law; and responded to 11,835 pollution incidents reports and responded to 35 oil and 17 hazardous substances incidents, to name just a few. Cuts will hurt boating and jeopardize security.

Looking at FEMA, while its funding is for recovery from disasters anywhere in the nation, our thoughts mostly turn to our coastlines where help is often needed to recover from hurricanes, floods and the like. A current example is the devastation experienced by the New Jersey’s marine industry from Hurricane Sandy (see Dealer Outlook on March 7) and the need to continue funding the emergency dredging work in 131 shoaled-up channels that are eligible for FEMA reimbursement. So at any time, FEMA could be a life ring for boating somewhere.

NOAA has a positive impact on boating in many ways, too. One big mission important to marine businesses and boaters alike along the East and Gulf coasts is NOAA’s hurricane-hunter flight operations. These planes fly into and around storms to determine track and intensity. And, through new technology, they have steadily improved the all-important hurricane forecast warning cone.

Think about this: As a practical matter, the successful narrowing of any major storm track cone by NOAA will save literally millions of dollars. That’s because local, state and federal emergency managers estimate it costs about $1 million per coastline mile to evacuate residents from an oncoming storm.

Another NOAA cut would eliminate a valuable $73 million program called Sea Grant, a national network of 33 university-based efforts that conduct research on fisheries, aquaculture, coastal economic development, harbor management and beach safety. And up in the Great Lakes all coastal buoys are funded through various NOAA programs. If cut, direct measurements near the coastline of wind and surf conditions that National Weather Service depends on for issuing nearshore advisories would be lost.

Even more alarms are going off in the Great Lakes about a possible 97 percent cut (from $300 million to $10 million) to a key Environmental Protection Agency program called the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It funds Great Lakes pollution cleanup, invasive species management, the ever-growing algae bloom problems and other key watershed projects in the eight states bordering the lakes.

It’s all just beginning. There’s little doubt at this point that other cuts that could negatively impact boating and fishing are likely looming. And it seems certain that boating will have to judge where and how it moves to restore needed funding.


14 comments on “Will budget cuts hit the marine industry hard?

  1. Barron Sholes

    Well, well, well. Trump is finally living up to one of his campaign promises. For all those in the marine industry who put on blinders and voted for a new captain with zero experience – this is only the beginning. Be careful out there. Cuts of this magnitude to the Coast Guard are going to hurt.

  2. Michael

    I hope all of you that supported Mr.Trump realize now what he represents. He is a fraud and now his policies if not stopped will be detrimental to our country, our children and grandchildren for years to come.
    Take the time to look at the history of his EPA director Scott Pruitt just
    to get an idea of where the environment is headed along with his intentions to greatly reduce Coast Guard Funding.

  3. Philosophical

    If all you care about is not paying taxes, Trump’s your man, at least for the next couple of years. If your interests are broader and include the future of our country, please do what you can to rein in this catastrophe in the making. Staying in touch with your congressional representatives will definitely help.

  4. scott williams

    Look, we can’t have everything. We finally have some positive news and this article tries to spin it into a negative. Every action has a reaction. So we loose a few things in exchange for a robust economy where more people can buy boats, and afford to get into the boating lifestyle.

    I’ll take the cuts in trade for more people working and more manufacturing. Many of these projects are not as important as our economy and can take a back seat for a while.

    Stay positive, give it a little time. The results will benefit every US Citizen.

  5. Blaine

    For years the federal government spent money we didn’t have. So someone comes along and tightens up the spending and you all go ape crap nuts. We all have to live with in our means. Spending increases each year. It goes up by % of what was spent last year. (increases 5% to 7%) We now we are going to reverse that. 8 years of no budget, now we have a guy who is going to force government to spend less. In case you forgot, those are “our” tax dollars the government is spending. Money we worked hard for and the government takes away from us. As a boat dealer who deals with the government I see waste and abuse every day that I deal with them. So make them spend less. Do more with less…I’ve had to do that for the last 8 years at my dealership. Most of our customers here in coal country have had to do that. The way I see it is there is going to be some pain. We have to right the ship. But If we can see some economic growth the pain will be bearable. You can’t have your cake and eat it to. Choices have to be made. You can’t say take their money but don’t take mine, it just doesn’t work that way. Were all in this boat together so suck it up butter cup and go to work and learn to do more with less. Or we can keep going down the road and our country will go down the tubes. And at some point none of us will be selling or repairing boats.

  6. AnonymousBob

    Hmm, it’s almost as if Trump voters weren’t smart enough to think through the ramifications of letting a bull run free in the China (would say Russian, but, well, never mind) shop! Elections have consequences and the ruinous consequences from Trump’s Electoral College win (he LOST the actual vote) are going to take generations to repair, if at all.
    We’re getting lead shot and lures back in our water, but won’t have an EPA to monitor it. Anglers will get lead poisoning, but there won’t be any Medicare to help our elderly customers.
    We’ll have Russian spy ships lingering off our coast, but won’t have a Coast Guard to warn or protect us.
    Hurricanes are going to wipe away our coastlines, but we won’t have NOAA to warns us or FEMA to help us.
    We’ll try cruising to the Bahamas or Cuba, but won’t have a State Department to staff any embassies if we Americans need help.
    We’ll try to export product, but face massive tariffs because we killed the TPP trade agreement.
    Gee, it’s almost as if Trump voters weren’t smart enough to think ahead.
    Well, Trump did say he liked the uneducated voter. He found droves of them in the Marine industry.

  7. CaptA

    Well, Let see how man people will want to buy/own boats when the water they are sailing in looks and smells like SH_T.

  8. Carl Moore

    The Marine industry will be fine & will prosper. The bureaucracy will be thinned…
    Abob you are not that dumb to know we are a representative republic not a majority mob rule country. No Democracy(majority-mob rule) has lasted more than 100 years… look it up. Everyone I’ve spoken with in the boat business is excited & we are seeing traffic increase at dealerships & shows…Blaine is right on target…. So trolls go watch the Debbie downers on MSNBC the rest of us are going back to Work…

  9. AnonymousBob

    Carl Moore:

    I love how easily triggered you are. It’s fun knowing you’re hyperventilating in your rush to post another “Soros funded” entry on some non-descript message board. I’m laughing AT you.
    As I’ve asked before, please have Mr. Soros get in touch with me because I am eagerly awaiting his check.

    I didn’t say people weren’t happy and business wasn’t good, did I? We’re only a few months into Trump’s regime, so you gotta pace your over-enthusiastic boy fetish with Trump. His policies haven’t taken effect yet (we’re still in Obama’s time), so you have no idea what is going to happen. Methinks you’re probably celebrating prematurely, which isn’t surprising given your previous posts have shown a definite lack of critical and forward thinking skills.

    Happy boating!

  10. CaptA

    Scott Williams-What will never happen? Water quality will never degrade when the EPA is gone?

  11. CaptA

    Scott williams–Did you see what happened in Florida last year? The State of Florida did not enforce the environmental laws and looked what happened to the water quality. That is one issues in one State in the nation. Once the EPA is gone–you think it will get better?! HA!

    What did the event in Florida do to the boating industry in that community last year? Imagine what will happen to the boating industry when EPA is gone.

  12. Carl Moore

    Abob you make me laugh not hyperventilate.. You r and always have been a troll here. You only post when its political or government related.. you are not in the marine industry & I would bet you also post under the CaptA handle. Have a nice Day, I’v got to go back to making American Boating Great Again for my customers…
    Don’t miss Rachael Maddow tonight for the talking points…

  13. CaptA

    Carl Moore,

    The fact you are accusing someone as posting as me makes me wonder of you are guilty of that allegation. I am not ABob, although I happen to agree with many of his opinions.

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