Northwest groups will study boating’s economic impact

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Two of Washington state's largest boating industry associations are teaming up to fund a joint study examining the economic effect of recreational boating in the state.

The Northwest Marine Trade Association and Northwest Yacht Brokers Association commissioned a study that will examine the effect boating has on jobs and the economy in Washington.

"We need to reframe the message around recreational boating. What we want to demonstrate is that our state can create a demand for high-paying jobs and increase revenue by supporting the maritime facet of our economy," said Martha Comfort, NMTA government affairs committee chairwoman, said in a statement.

"Vessels are currently avoiding Washington state because of sales and use taxes. Consequently, Washington state loses jobs and the overall economy suffers," according to the organizations. "The high sales tax often eliminates the cumulative year-after-year effect on jobs and taxes generated by the cost of vessel ownership."

The premise of the study is that a vibrant recreational boating industry would bolster Washington state's sagging economy and that growth of the industry would lead to job creation and an improved business climate. The ultimate goal is to regain the maritime identity that once made Washington state a "global leader in recreational boating due to our fine cruising waters and spacious deepwater ports, both from a business and tourist perspective," the groups said in a statement.

The study, done by Hebert Research Inc., is expected to be completed by mid-February.

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