Water access – I’m glad to see industry media attention being paid to water access. It’s not as emotional an issue as “Take Me Fishing,” but it’s just as important to boating.
All over the country, especially on saltwater shorelines, the fortunate few are buying available land and restricting access. Or developers are buying the land for condo development. Where I live in the desert, I’m often asked or teased about the lack of boating water. Within a 40-minute drive of Phoenix, there are some great lakes, and at Lake Pleasant, a big new marina is going in.
In my work, I travel to many coastal and Great Lakes areas and growth in boating is taking place. But unfortunately, there are some areas that are forever being lost to boating. Take Miami Beach, for example. The growth of condos is about to choke off access to the water. Access? It’s almost to the point of not even being able to see the water. And the needed infrastructure such as parking is disappearing, too.
I was visiting with a successful Southern California marine dealer whose business is on the water in Newport Beach and the conversation turned to retirement and plans to retire and business succession. The dealer told me he was just holding on for a few more years because the land the business is on is getting more and more valuable. There’s no plan to sell the dealership to someone or for their children to take it over. They will just close up and sell the land for several millions of dollars and retire. I sure hope they don’t plan on going boating, because there is likely to be no access for them!
We need to do more to to ensure there is access for boaters. Otherwise, Discover Boating will be just wishful thinking.