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Two Boosts for Boating and Fishing

MBIA’s Metro Boat show draws a crowd, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expands boating and fishing opportunities.

The Michigan Boating Industries Association saw 12,000-plus attendees converge on the Shore and South marinas that comprised last weekend’s Metro Boat Show, spanning nearly a mile in the Lake St. Clair Metropark.

“Beautiful weather, hundreds of boats and accessory displays, and boating enthusiasts coming together made for four fantastic days of the boat show,” said show manager Nicki Polan. “And similar to national trends, it appears sales were strong across all boat types, with new buyers continuing to come into the market.”

Like earlier industry shows — for example, Catawba Island and Orlando — MBIA’s show had a 17 percent increase in attendance, reflecting the continued growth of the boating industry in Michigan. In fact, all of the recent events have demonstrated that boaters are drawn to shows, so it’s not a stretch to predict a boost in attendance across the board.

“We see the boating industry in Michigan continuing to ride a wave of success,” Polan said. “In 2020, new boat, motor, trailer and accessory purchases increased 12 percent, nearing $1.3 billion, and it was the 11th year of consecutive growth in our state. The recreational boating industry has an impressive annual economic impact of $7.8 billion in Michigan and employs nearly 40,000.”

Stacie Westrick, of Tommy’s of Detroit (Axis, Malibu, Tahoe), summed it up this way: “We had an amazing show. We had so much fun and sold a lot of boats.”

“Due to the exponential increase in demand, dealers have less inventory than they’ve had in the past, but there was still a great showing of product at the show,” Polan said.

The 2022 show is scheduled for Sept. 15-18. MBIA also produces the Detroit Boat Show at TCF Center and the Novi Boat Show at Suburban Collection Showplace.

More Boating and Fishing

There are more boating and fishing opportunities in National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries throughout thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which recently finalized rules aimed at increasing engagement in these growing pastimes.

The “2021-2022 Station Specific Rules,” which became effective Aug. 31, call for the first-time opening of seven refuges and one hatchery that were previously closed to fishing and hunting. Even more, fishing opportunities were expanded in 88 other National Wildlife Refuges to boost opportunities for outdoor recreation, including boating.

“We’re excited to see the Fish and Wildlife Service continue to open and expand fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Chad Tokowicz, government relations manager for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. “Many National Wildlife Refuges facilitate fishing from both motorized and non-motorized watercraft, and we know that these additional opportunities will get more Americans on the water and exploring opportunities close to their homes.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates these changes will result in an additional 25,885 fishing days and yield an additional $1.4 million in recreation-related expenditures that can benefit businesses located near the NWRs and NFHs.

This expansion is actually the result of Department of Interior Secretarial Orders, specifically 3356 and 3366which were signed, respectively, Sept. 15, 2017, and April 18, 2018. These two Secretarial Orders charge the Department of Interior to recruit and retain sportsmen and women, while also expanding available opportunities for recreation on federal lands.

If your marine business is located near an NMR or NFH and you want to learn more about the locations and changes the Station Specific Rules, click here.

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