The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net has chosen to apportion an unusually large amount of line space to what we feel is the very important story presented below. If you have even a passing interest in EVER cruising the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, we urge you to read and study all the text and graphics below. We believe, at least for the AICW, this is one of the most important articles ever published on the SSECN!
On 11/22/13, I had the good fortune to be a speaker at the annual Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association conference in Charleston, South Carolina. I spoke about how the entire Southeastern USA marine business is predicated on the semi-annual “snowbird migration,” and, should the AICW become an unviable avenue for this twice a year migration, the entire pleasurecraft industry in our part of the world would be fundamentally altered.
However, before I made my presentation, everyone’s eyes practically popped out of their collective heads at the information imparted to the conference by Mr. Harry Simmons, Mayor of the town of Caswell Beach, North Carolina. Mayor Simmons gave all attendees an up close and personal look at an in-depth, economic survey of the Atlanic Intracoatal Waterway’s economic benefits! This report was primarily funded by North Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association, which owns the published results, with major support from North Carolina Sea Grant and the NC Dept of Environment & Natural Resources. It was prepared by noted economic experts, Dr. Jim Herstine, Ph.D., Dr. Chris Dumas, Ph.D. (both of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington), and Dr. John Whitehead, Ph.D.— Appalachian State University. All of which is to say that this study/report comes with some genuine expertise and impressive credentials attached.
I think it fair to say that the entire audience was stunned when we learned that:
For every $1.00 of Federal expenditure on maintaining the AICW, there is an economic return of $26.00
For every $1.00 of NC State and local government expenditure, there is an economic return of $29.00
WOW, I only wish I could find any sort of investment that would yield these sorts of return! Are these totally amazing stats or what!!!
Please take a moment to peruse these three excerpts from the study’s graphic, executive summary:
And, finally, take a look at what would happen if the AICW ceased to be a viable avenue of migration and commerce. NOTICE THE 53% OF BOAT OWNERS THAT WOULD ABANDON CRUISING ENTIRELY IF MAINTENANCE OF THE AICW WAS FURTHER REDUCED!
Given these professionally prepared and researched figures, YOU MIGHT THINK THAT OUR POLITICIANS WOULD BE DESPERATE TO FIND MORE FUNDS TO SPEND ON AICW MAINTENANCE RATHER THAT THE INDIFFERENT ATTITUDE MOST SEEM TO SHOW TOWARDS THE WATERWAY!
So, what can we do about this. Quite simply, if you want the AICW to continue, not only for those of us cruising now, but for future generations as well, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net once again urges ALL members of the cruising community to join the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (http://www.atlintracoastal.org/). For only a tiny investment of $25.00 a year, we can be assured that the rather astounding economic study alluded to above will be plopped front and center into every state and Federal politician’s lap. I can’t think of any better way to spend a measly $25.00! To join the AIWA, please visit:
For those who would like to learn more about the AICW Economic Study, please follow these links:
Executive Graphic Summary:
Full Text of Economic Study:
While I applaud efforts to build political pressure to fund maintenance of the ICW, in today’s climate there had better be a “Plan B” somewhere ready to pull out if that doesn’t work. Let’s face it, the ICW serves and benefits a fairly narrow slice of the U.S. population (including me). Accordingly, a lot of the members of Congress probably don’t even know what it is. How many votes will we get from Wyoming and Arizona? Commercial use isn’t helping much any more, so it’s up to us.
While an alternative plan might diminish the chance for more help from Washington, someone had better start to figure out how we might collect user fees. After all, in some cities people who want to drive in the downtown in rush hour have to pay extra for it. Think transponders. While not wanting to go too deep into the pun category, I think user fees are “the wave of the future”, and we had better wax up our surf boards.
K. C. Moore, Jr.
I should have added the comment that the ICW problems predate the country’s recent budget problems and the sequester, etc. by many years. The challenge involved in getting money from Washington started to really bite when the Corps stopped dredging between Port Royal Sound and the King’s Bay channel…and this was about five years ago. The job got even tougher since Congress abandoned the
earmark practice. Earmarks got things like this done…and they are pretty much gone.
K. C. Moore
If you’ve not already joined BoatUS you can be heard in Washington, even if your state representative is not a boater…http://www.boatus.com/news/gastax.htm