What the New Year – and Beyond – Can Bring January 15, 2015
With economic momentum building and as more people are interested in getting back on the water, it’s a safe bet that the new year will bring gains across the entire marine business landscape. Building on recent triumphs and with an eye toward new initiatives, our industry can flourish in the short and long term.
We have several reasons to be optimistic about our current business climate and future, starting with remarkable natural resources, a world-class reputation as an international marine hub for goods, services and sales, a desired international destination, deep expertise in marine processes and people, professional training for those who wish to enter the field, ready access to a vibrant research community in our universities, and being a global transfer point for travelers with the busiest U.S. international airport, products and commerce. Our goal should be to not only use and maintain these benefits and gifts, but seek ways to expand on them and continually search for new ways to energize them and keep them fresh.
Looking ahead, there are a number of projects and initiatives worth highlighting:
- All Aboard Florida. The Coast Guard collected information to report on the impact proposed bridge closures would have on waterway traffic and use and is developing its response to the Economic Impact Statement. Continued diligence to protect our navigation rights will be maintained so that reasonable needs of navigation can be met.
- Leveraging and further promoting the region’s key annual event – the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. By working closely with the Broward County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Show Management and Starmark, we hope the collaborative efforts to promote our region attract a network morning news program that will report live from the show throughout the event.
- The annual Billfish Tournament in February (see related article) is an example of how we can partner with a leading research university to increase environmental awareness and research gains having to do with oceanography. We hope you can participate.
- Highlighting the importance and impact of the marine industry as on par with tourism in Fort Lauderdale and equal to citrus statewide will be pursued. The numbers from researcher Tom Murray show tri-county marine industry sales grew an estimated 36.3% between 2010 and 2014, and the tri-county marine industry grew in annual economic impact to $11.5 billion– an increase of $2.6 billion from $8.9 billion in 2010 – including $4 billion in wages and earnings, up from $3 billion in 2010, and 136,000 jobs generated compared to 107,000 in 2010.
As one of the largest industries in Southeast Florida, we have the responsibility to take a lead role in planning and executing efforts to improve the region. A good model is North Carolina’s Research Triangle Regional Partnership, whose mission is: “Keep good things happening in the region. That means working closely with businesses, educational institutions and government organizations, continuing to foster the innovation and collaboration that have put us at the top of all those ‘Best places to live and work’ lists.”
Much of this mission is reflected in what MIASF values and its members have been working on recently and in the past. We have extremely supportive partners in the education and local community, state and federal legislatures and agencies, and complimenting industries. But we must keep it sharp and focused. To that end, we encourage industry members and allies to keep supporting each other and pointing out fresh opportunities along the way.