We had the pleasure of attending the Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay Marine Industries Association 2021 Annual Dinner on Wednesday, September 22. As new members of the SWFMIA, we look forward to being more engaged in these industry events so we can better serve our marine industry clients!

The SWFMIA 2021 Annual Dinner was held at the new Luminary Hotel/Caloosa Sound Convention Center in Downtown Fort Myers. There was an abundant amount of information to cover and here, we included a recap of of some of the topics of discussion.

Economic Impact of Boating in Southwest Florida

According to the SWFMIA and GoBoatingFlorida, Southwest Florida is the boating and fishing capital of the world. The stats shared by the SWFMIA during this annual dinner included:

  • 1 in 6 households in Southwest Florida owns a boat
  • Nearly 1,000,000 registered boats in our area
  • 92,211 jobs supported
  • Total estimated economic impact of $23.3 billion

Economic Impact of Algae Blooms in SWFL

The Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay partnered with the West Coast Inland Navigation District to sponsor a study about the economic impacts of algae blooms in Southwest Florida. This study, “Quantifying the Socio-Economic Impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms in Southwest Florida in 2018” and its hard data and facts will allow the SWFMIA to propel key decision-making initiatives in our local government about our waterways. Here are some takeaways from this report:

  • For-hire/charter operations – 61% decrease in sales revenues (average across all trip types) during the 2018 Red Tide event, when Red Tide was present locally
  • Marine recreation operations – 36% decrease in sales revenues (average across all trip types) during the 2018 Red Tide event, when Red Tide was present locally
  • Price and quantity of AirBNB property reservations – Decreases tourist demand for Airbnb properties by 345 reservation days

The full report is available for review and download here. 

New Yamaha Certification Program Coming to Fort Myers Technical College

As boat dealers and boat service centers continue to struggle to find talent, it was a breath of fresh air to learn that Fort Myers Technical College will soon be introducing a new Yamaha Outboards certification program to their students. This is great news for business owners in the area as it will become another source for trained talent. The Fort Myers Technical College Yamaha Outboards Certification program will be the ONLY school offering this certificate other than Yamaha’s own program.

Boat Show Attendance Continues to Thrive

Southwest Florida continues to see positive economic impacts from local boat shows. According to statistics from last year, attendance at the Bonita Springs Boat Show in 2021 increased by 65% compared to the previous year. Boat dealers continue to struggle with inventory management and supply chain problems, but their commitment to the boat shows helps to support the local economy.

According to the SWFMIA/GoBoatingFlorida, the 2020 Annual Fort Myers Boat Show made a big economic splash in Southwest Florida. These numbers include $117 million in annual sales resulting from the show, 1,068 full-time jobs generated, and a total estimated economic impact of $153 million.

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Upcoming Boat Shows

  • Fort Myers Boat Show – November 11 – 14, 2021
  • Charlotte County Boat Show – January 6 – 8, 2022
  • Bonita Springs Boat Show – March 3 – 6, 2022

New Boater Education

2020 and 2021 brought a huge influx of new boaters to the area. In order to continue to protect our waterways and keep boating safe, the SWFMIA and GoBoatingFlorida created a New Boater Guide. This waterproof guide will be perfect support for new boaters as they navigate the rules of the water.

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All in all, the SWFMIA 2021 Annual Dinner was a major success and we look forward to seeing our fellow members at the upcoming boat shows this year and next year!

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