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The Harbor Column: Sunshine State is best for boating

June 11, 2010|Mike Whitehead

The thick drizzly June gloom should give us a slight break this weekend and hopefully the sun should peek through on Saturday and Sunday. Boating conditions will be great inside in the harbor, with a mild breeze shifting between the south and east. The ocean swells will remain a mixed set with a smaller 2-foot south and the west swell should decrease to below 4 feet with a double-digit interval between swells. You can expect air temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s, and as I always say, keep an eye out for morning and afternoon fog.

The top 10 boating states were announced this month by the National Marine Manufacturers Assn., or NMMA, which is the recreational boating industry's trade association. NMMA developed the order ranking by total annual expenditures for new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories in 2009.

California came in No. 3 at $417 million, but was beaten by Texas with $489 million higher at a total of $906 million for the No. 2 spot. Who would have thought that Texas totals are more than double of those in California. However, can anyone guess which state captured the No. 1 spot with an astonishing $1.2 billion in sales?

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Well, the sunshine state of Florida takes the top prize, and Florida is known as a boater-friendly state, just not for boat owners, but also for those wanting to purchase a boat. If you are in the market for a multimillion-dollar mega-yacht, then buying one and keeping it in California is basically out of the question with the high sales and property taxes, while Florida understands the low taxing model.

As a matter of fact, Florida just capped its boat sales tax to try and capture more yacht and mega-yacht sales in their state rather than losing them to offshore sources in Europe or in the Caribbean.

Some people will claim that this is merely a case of just helping only the wealthy by reducing taxes, but it is not. These sales are the lifeblood for the marine industry, and the ancillary sales to other local services and stores generate huge dollars — especially tax dollars that would not occur otherwise. Someone buying a multimillion-dollar yacht will always have the option to buy anywhere that makes fiscal sense, so making the sale enticing enough to bring it home is a smart and fiscally prudent measure.

Is anyone listening in Sacramento?

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