Good news heading into summer’s last big weekend


Heading into the so-called last big boating weekend of summer — albeit some of the greatest boating in most parts of the country comes through September and October — here are some good news items worth noting:

Housing boost

If the state of the housing market is a benchmark of how well the marine industry will do with sales, things are looking good. In July, construction spending reportedly hit a post-recession high, the highest level in more than seven years.

Given the economic turbulence in some world markets these days, the growth of U.S. housing, coupled with increased business investment, is very good news and is seen as a significant help to underpin our continued economic growth.

Total construction spending was up 0.7 percent from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.08 trillion, the Commerce Department reported this week. That’s the highest level since May 2008. Private building of both residential and nonresidential construction led the way.

The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics recently reported that chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, Ian Shepherdson, told his clients: “The overall impression from the past few months is that the construction sector overall is the strongest part of the economy, with spending up at a remarkable 26 percent annualized rate in the three months to July,” he said.

That’s the kind of news that’s positive for boating’s growth, too.

This week’s chuckle

Gotta love the fact that the promised rally that was supposed to draw thousands protesting the new location for the Miami International Boat Show was a dud with a capital D. Organized by Schwartz Media Strategies, the ad agency hired by the Village of Key Biscayne, virtually nobody showed up. (Gonna be tough to hand the client the reported $8,000 a month bill for that.)

It really wasn’t surprising. The truth has always been obvious since the show announced its move to the Miami Marine Stadium site — this truly international boating event is part of the very fabric of the greater Miami area and it has been for 74 years. If there was ever any question, it’s now abundantly clear only a very few in leadership of the Village of Key Biscayne have any problem with it.

So the plan for the grand opening next February, including 600,000 square feet of covered exhibit space with adjacent in-water space for up to 700 boats, continues without distraction.

More fishing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will expand fishing opportunities on 21 refuges throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System. New rules will also modify existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 100 additional refuges and wetland management districts.

In addition, fishing will be offered for the first time on four national wildlife refuges in North Dakota: Ardoch Refuge, Lake Alice Refuge, Rose Lake Refuge and Silver Lake Refuge.

The National Wildlife Refuge System includes more than 560 wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. There is a refuge within an hour’s drive from most major metropolitan areas. Fishing will now be encouraged on 275 wildlife refuges. More than 47 million people visit refuges every year.

Click here if you want to know where fishing (and hunting) opportunities are offered.

Have a good boating Labor Day weekend.


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A Double Shot for Small Business

New Jersey’s MTA saves the sales tax cap on boats, and the PREPARE Act would create low-interest, fixed-rate loans to help small businesses protect their properties against natural disasters.