From the Captain's Chair: See You on the Water
As spring quickly transitions to summer, a noticeable uptick in recreational boat users can be seen on every South Florida waterway. This year, more so than any year in recent history, the number of boaters is higher than usual. While the pandemic caused problems for many industries, boat sales were up 35-40 percent statewide in 2020 as people chose to buy boats in lieu of the vacations they couldn’t take.
Now that we are on the verge of summer, these new boat owners – along with so many students finishing classes – are hitting our lakes, rivers, and coastal waterways to enjoy the best boating months of the year. As stewards of our state’s natural resources and its robust marine industry, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) always has safety in mind. Safety of the boat operators and their guests, safety of other water users, and safety of our fragile marine environment.
As we head into June, we’ve been giving great thought to ways we can all ensure and enjoy a safe summer.
A Nature Reset
One thing that didn’t suffer from COVID-19 is our state’s natural resources. Just the opposite. Our plants and animals had over twelve months to recuperate (mostly) free from human intervention. With very few people using our parks, waterways, and other public spaces, the wildlife that call these places home had a rare opportunity to thrive generally uninhibited by our presence.
Now we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve this newly robust natural habitat. While MIASF events like the annual Waterway Cleanup present important opportunities to fix problems caused by humans, we now have a chance to build on this natural rebound. Rather than only fixing, we can also preserve. We encourage all waterway users – new and returning – to become attentive stewards and year-round advocates for these renewed natural resources.
Safe Boating Standards
We know Florida ranks number one in boat registrations nationwide. We also know that May is the kick-off to Florida’s popular summer boating season. In the coming days and weeks, many new captains will be hitting the water with their families and friends.
Not coincidentally, Safe Boating Week kicks off this week, in the lead up to Memorial Day weekend. This is an excellent time for members to remind customers, friends, and family of two important safety measures that go a long way towards keeping our waterways safe for all – life jackets and designated drivers. It only takes a small bit of effort to ensure the safety of everyone.
MIASF has once again partnered with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary now that they have resumed in person classes, to host monthly boater education classes at the MIASF office. The next class is June 5th, click here for additional details and registration http://wow.uscgaux.info/pe_class_flyer.php?unit=NAT&course=26673
Annual Meeting Recap
On Thursday, May 20th, we held the 2021 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon at the Lauderdale Yacht Club. It was great to finally meet up in person, and an honor to welcome Reggie Rivers once again as our emcee. First things first, a huge thanks to Marieke van Peer, Graeme Lord and Glen Allen who are leaving their board posts. Your service and support throughout the year helped make 2020 a successful year.
We also had the opportunity to announce newly elected and re-elected board members and confer a number of awards. Congratulations to Chuck Cashman of MarineMax, Bob Denison of Denison Yachting, and Danny James of Compass Logistics & Marine on their election as our newest board members, and a hearty congratulations to Megan Washington of Pier Sixty-Six Marina on her re-election to the board.
This year’s Golden Anchor award recipient was Andrew Doole of Informa Markets. Informa was the driving force behind maintaining the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show as a live event by putting robust safety and health protocols in place. In his acceptance speech, Andrew made it a point to thank his team, noting that the success of FLIBS was entirely due to their collective hard work and perseverance. He accepted the award on behalf of the entire Informa team.
Another hallmark award, the 2021 Award of Excellence, went to Doug West for leading by example and raising the standards of professionalism in the marine industry. His innovation and thoughtful investment have transformed Lauderdale Marine Center to a world recognized yacht service facility.
Broward County Mayor Steve Geller, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, and Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steve Glassman all received Marine Industry Advocate awards in recognition of their unwavering commitment to the marine industry.
Have a great holiday weekend, and we’ll see you on the water.