Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/528099
28 Proceedings Summer 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings to so many. In the future, these venues will become even more rare and valuable, offering yet greater temptation for marina owners to sell out. So, don't be surprised to see local governments paving the way for waterfront development by buying out marinas and boatyards or relocating facili- ties, such as county-owned launch ramps, to less desirable locations — all to make room for a waterfront hotel, mall, and multiplex. One saving grace may be state and federal coastal manage- ment agencies that step in to restrict rampant waterfront development and the associated environmental impact. In this case, environmental concerns might actually work in favor of the boating community. The Crystal Helm We can predict the future of boating with about as much precision as we can run uncharted, shoal-ridden waters at night. There are signs, to be sure. And, we know how to read them and steer accordingly. But all is never revealed. The biggest problem with prognostication is that as we advance to ever-changing technological, social, economic, and other plateaus, our vantage point on the future also changes. This fact makes predicting a vision of the boating future about as accurate as a "cocked hat" position fx. That's not a bad thing, since many mariners have steered clear of harm's way and gone on to greatness using that very same methodology. About the author: Mr. Kevin Falvey is editor in chief of Boating magazine. Endnotes: 1. Available at www.nmma.org/default.aspx. 2. See www.nmma.org. 3. See www.pewresearch.org. are also reaching potential customers via social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. If boat builders can keep pace with how millennials interact as they reach adulthood, and if the technology involved in boats continues to improve (and the price can refect the changing face of the middle class), boating will continue to remain relevant to millions of Americans. Politics and the Environment Future boaters — especially powerboaters — face an uphill political battle in the next two decades, though. This is wrought largely by increasing concern among the general public about marine and aquatic environments and a trend toward escalating waterfront real-estate values and pressure to redevelop marinas, boatyards, and launch ramp facilities. What's more, if the number of boaters dwindles as a result of increasing costs and shifts in social patterns, the boat- ing community's political infuence may also wane. This could jeopardize the boating community's ability to defend access and on-water freedoms that currently attract so many people to boating. To glimpse the future of environmental restrictions affect- ing boaters, look at California today, where huge marine protected areas have closed off swaths of coastline to recre- ational fshing. Angling is one of the most popularly activi- ties on boats, and if this trend continues, you may see many boating anglers giving up and leaving the market. In Florida (where boating is far more popular than in Cali- fornia) state wildlife regulators are also considering expand- ing marine protected areas. Currently, the state has a vast network of no-wake zones to protect its population of mana- tees, and certain shallow-water areas are now designated pole/troll zones, which prohibit using propeller-driven internal-combustion engines. Another future environmental issue is the spread of invasive species via recreational boats. Already in states such as Arizona and California, lake management agencies have instituted stringent boating regulations to try to contain mollusks. On some lakes, this includes boat quarantine peri- ods lasting weeks and fastidious cleanings and inspections before a boat can launch. Environmental initiatives are not the only forces that may affect boating access in the future. Real estate developers have long eyed harbor facilities such as boatyards, mari- nas, and launch ramps that help make boating accessible For more information: Visit w w w.boatingmag.com, the National Marine Manufacturers Association at www. nmma.org, and the Pew Research Center at www.pewresearch.org.