Water access is an important issue in the boating industry, and programs developed by recent award winners highlight some things being done around the country to improve access.
The six 2008 BoatU.S. Recreational Boating Access Award winners are located in Florida, Ohio, Minnesota and North Carolina, and offer a range of innovative solutions for communities struggling to keep their waterfronts open to boaters, anglers, and citizens.
BoatU.S. created the award program in 2007 to highlight successes in protecting water access as boaters and communities were losing marina slips, service yards and boat launching areas in many parts of the country.
Two projects added new boat-launching facilities in their communities on Lake Erie in Sheffield Lake, Ohio; and Lake Superior, near Duluth, Minn.
In North Carolina, the award recognized officials of Morehead City for its long-range water access plan that has led to several new access sites for small boats in the last 10 years, plus a 10-slip transient facility for cruising boats that opened last year.
In Florida, BoatU.S. recognized the city of Gulfport on Boca Ciega Bay for its Municipal Mooring Field to serve transient as well as local boaters.
In Glade County on Lake Okeechobee, a public-private partnership between the city of Moore Haven and the owners of RiverForest Yachting Center in Stuart, Fla., will rebuild a dilapidated city marina as a key component to its downtown redevelopment.
The final Access Award went to a state lawmaker, North Carolina Rep. Arthur Williams, for his successful sponsorship of legislation, HB 2167, to revise state law for trailer boaters that was preventing trailers wider than eight-feet, six-inches access to state roads on weekends, holidays and at night — all prime travel times.