Captain’s Chair: Region’s industry keeping busy May 18, 2016

While many of the vessels that frequent our region other times during the year are heading to New England or the Med for the summer, things have not slowed down here at MIASF.

The $17 million Intracoastal dredge that has been in the works for some time now kicked off this month. This is the Florida Inland Navigation district’s largest project in its history, and it will help keep our region competitive by allowing boats with deeper drafts to frequent our waterways.

We had the chance to explain some of these benefits in detail to FIND commissioners from around the state during the Florida Inland Navigation District/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2016 Intracoastal waterway inspection tour on May 5. For more details on the dredge, check out the complete article about it inside this issue of the newsletter.

Boating safety has been in the news a lot lately, and with summer here and more people out on the water, we want to make sure everyone stays safe. To that end, Safe Boating Day this Sunday, May 22 at Bahia Mar Marina will feature an exciting variety of demonstrations, presentations and activities, as well as raffles, music and food trucks. The free event also coincides with National Safe Boating Week, from May 21-27. Tell your employees, and bring your family – we hope to see everyone there!

Invitations also have been emailed for our annual meeting on Saturday, June 4 at the Broward Center for Performing Arts, where we will be announcing the winners of our annual Golden Anchor Award and Awards of Excellence. Our guest speaker will be Sun Sentinel Publisher and Editor Howard Saltz, who led the paper to its first Pulitzer Prize and will speak about the direction its heading and the role it plays in our community.

It’s important to have a working relationship with the media outlets in our community so they can get information to the community, whether it can benefit or harm the industry. The region is growing fast, we need to be ahead of it. A better relationship with the media is better for the industry.

We’re also gearing up for Marine Industry Day on Saturday, June 18 from noon-6 p.m. at Esplanade Park – we’re working closely with Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale on the music and entertainment, as well as the bars. We’re also partnering once again with the National Marine Manufacturers Association, U.S. Superyacht Association, Florida Yacht Brokers Association and Young Professionals in Yachting, as well as the local marine education programs and our region’s oceanographic research institutions. This year’s theme is “A Bright Future for Jobs.” The free event, which also features many of our region’s marine businesses and raises awareness in the community about our industry, the jobs it creates and its economic impact, is the perfect place to bring your families and your employees for a day of fun down by the water.

As part of our efforts to expose kids to our industry, we have started interviewing the students with HANDY who we hope to find internships for. They have high GPAs, are talented and extremely motivated kids. If you have an opportunity for one of these hard-working students this summer, please let myself or anyone at MIASF know.

Our Habitat for Humanity sponsors have started doing their build days on the house, which is progressing rapidly and is scheduled to be finished this summer. Employees at Frank & Jimmie’s Propeller, Neptune Boat Lifts and Maritime Professional Training all came out and donated their time. The house is at 732 NW 15 Ave. in Fort Lauderdale, drive by sometime and check it out!

Meanwhile, we continue to monitor the progress of Brightline, aka All Aboard Florida. We have been engaged with the MPO at a regional and local level. While it is moving forward, we have a seat at the table. We’re continuing to monitor the traffic on the New River by the FEC rail bridge during the test regulation period, and so far there are no negatives to report and the test appears to be going well. To get an idea of how much vessel traffic there is, on Sunday, April 24, 811 vessels transited the river.

And we are getting closer to establishing a foreign trade zone here and additional progress was made in that area and others at the American Boating Congress this month in Washington, D.C. MIASF’s Patience Cohn shares all the details in her report on the trip that she and Past President Kristy Hebert took.

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Marine Industries Association of South Florida. 221 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Phone: 954.524.2733