Drought has some hoping for a hurricane

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The nation's widespread drought shows no signs of relenting, causing more than one boat dealer to wish in desperation for a hurricane.

“In Phoenix itself it’s hurt us because you just don’t go out on a boat when it’s 110 degrees,” said Mark Friedrich of West Marine in Phoenix. “[On a recent day] it was 116 degrees; you can’t do anything outside and it’s very, very dry. That part hasn’t really affected us because it’s the same every year; it’s just been really hot this year.”

Many West Marine stores had been doing quite well because of the heat, Friedrich said, but by early August Soundings Trade Only was unable to find any boat dealers in the hot and dry areas that weren’t negatively affected.

Rod Malone, of Sail & Ski, which serves most of central Texas with three locations from the I-35 corridor south of Waco to Corpus Christi, has experience with drought.

All 254 counties in Texas faced extreme drought conditions last year and this is the central part of the state’s fourth year of drought, Malone said. Most of Texas has recovered from extreme conditions, but the central part of the state continues to struggle.

The San Antonio store has been up about 15 percent, Malone said, and the other stores are down about that much.

“San Antonio’s major reservoirs have had the benefit of some rains that we didn’t get in central Texas,” Malone said. “We’re just hoping for a hurricane.”

Mark Huey, general manager at Ted’s Aqua Marine in Indianapolis, agreed.

“We’re still 6 inches behind,” Huey said. “It takes a lot of time to make that up. We need around 7 or 8 inches of rain. We need a hurricane.”

Click here for the U.S. Drought Monitor.

For a full report on how the drought is affecting the U.S. marine industry, see the September issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Reagan Haynes

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