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Boaters get back to boating, which bodes well for marinas

Friday, September 07, 2012 | Business Observer

The Gulf Coast marina industry, a segment specifically crushed by the recession, is motoring its way back.

In fact, a growing number of marinas in the region report occupancy rates of at least 90%, according to Tampa-based market research firm Urban Realty Solutions. Average occupancy rates at many marinas were well below 80% in 2009 and 2010, says Urban Realty President Linwood Gilbert.

“All Florida markets are reporting increases,” says Gilbert in a release. “(The) 2012 spring and summer season showed service and repair facilities experiencing strong growth and demand. Evidence of this is that fuel sales increased in both 2011 and 2012.”

Gilbert says marina managers partially attribute the growth to an improving boating market. That includes both new boat sales and storage lot boats returning to the water.

One other sign of a marina market in a comeback: Gilbert projects some marinas plan to increase rental rates — a move that hasn’t been made in the region, en masse, since the mid-2000s.

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