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With 47 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, from deep-sea fishing in the Gulf Stream, to scuba diving in nearby reefs, to sailing the protected waters of the Intracoastal, Palm Beach County is a boater’s paradise. The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County understands how the county’s abundant marine resources and strategic location appeal to yachters around the world.
Downtown West Palm Beach is home to the Palm Beach International Boat Show. It is one of the Top 5 Boat Shows in the U.S., and featured hundreds of boats on land and boats in the water, ranging in size from 10’ to 200’. The displays were located along Flagler Drive from Banyan Street to Okeechobee Blvd. To accommodate the boats in the water, a 923,000-sq. ft. temporary floating dock marina was constructed for the Show. The accessory displays included 38,000 sq. ft. of covered exhibit space, of which about 1/3 was air-conditioned exhibit area; additional tenting was utilized to accommodate 360 10’x10’ and 8’ x 10’ booths displaying various marine accessories. Also featured were continuing show seminars on various fishing and educational features such as the “Kids Fishing Clinic”.
Reportedly over $1.0 Billion of boats, equipment and accessories were on display at the Show. The total value of marine product sales at the Show in 2018 was estimated to be $277.5 million for all exhibitors. Much of those sales were made by exhibitors located in the Tri-county area. Six of every ten exhibitors are south Florida companies. Total sales by Florida companies during the Show were estimated to be $219.2 million, with the Tri-County companies contributing $183.1 and Palm Beach $36.6 million in marine products sales.
Marine services and marine retail sales are two of Palm Beach County’s key industries, employing almost 20,000 workers. And with 40,000 recreational craft from mega-yachts to kayaks, boating is clearly one of the county’s most valued lifestyle amenities.
A study released by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida shows the marine industry has an annual direct economic impact of $2.1 billion in Palm Beach County. ($23.3 billion in the State of Florida).
That direct annual economic impact of $1.35 billion is based on the following information:
Marine-related business sectors include:
This $1.35 billion economic impact generates a total of $1.8 billion in local business volume and $682 million in personal income (wages) for 18,228 workers.
The average boater purchases $52.27 of goods and services per outing at non-marine-related establishments for consumption on the county's waterways.
The more than 40,000 registered boaters in Palm Beach County annually purchase $51.6 million in gasoline sales related to boating outings and $39.4 million in food, drinks. and ice for boating outings.
Marinas and boatyards in Palm Beach County have a combined appraised value of $78.4 million. The boat slips in Palm Beach County have a total market value of $436 million.
More than half of the economic impacts are generated by the service sector of the marine industry, including in excess of $1 billion in business sales, $369 million in personal income, and 9,885 jobs. The second largest impacts are generated by manufacturing activities, with more than $320 million in sales, $100 million in personal income, and 2,490 jobs.
In addition to the direct economic impact of the marine industry, the study also found that boaters spend approximately $52.97 per outing on non-marine-related purchases such as gas, food, drinks, and ice. These non-marine related purchases total $91 million in retail purchases ($51.6 million for gasoline sales and $39.4 million for food, drinks, and ice) and are estimated to generate economic impacts of $135 million in business volume, $34 million in personal income, and 850 jobs.
The MIAPBC is a trade organization representing more than 200 marine-related businesses in Palm Beach County.
The marine industry is also a great supporter of local marine education.
The Marine Industry Education Foundation supports the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, for students who qualify. Riviera Beach Maritime Academy's mission is to provide a career pathway development through marine industry education and employment opportunities and to improve and expand the marine industry's labor force.
Students interested in:
Receive both classroom and hands-on instruction at the Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, along with the necessary high school education in order to develop a successful career in the marine industry. Intended as a four-year program, Riviera Beach Maritime Academy provides lessons in boat building, vessel research, operational procedures, environmental stewardship, and navigating through classroom presentation, guest speakers, and field trips. After graduating, students can choose to continue their studies through VO-tech, a six-month, on the job apprentice-training program, or search for employment in the marine industry. As a supporter of the Marine Industry Education Foundation, the MIAPBC provides work opportunities to students and graduates in order to enhance their knowledge and career in the marine industry.
South Tech Academy in Boynton Beach, FL provides an opportunity for high school students to train for a career in the Marine Engine and Service Industry.
Students in the Marine Technology Academy learn the theory of marine engine operation and how to service four stroke, two stroke, and diesel engines. This is a very hands-on series of classes that enable students to also learn 12-volt electrical systems. Yamaha Outboard Motor Corporation has partnered with Inlet Grove High School, which will enable students to earn a very prestigious Yamaha University industry certification (Introduction to Outboard Systems). Another component of this program is learning about the ecosystem in which this field operates, through environmental and marine science classes and trips, such as fishing, snorkeling and boating.
Through a partnership with the American Boat and Yacht Council, Palm Beach State College offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to train marine service technicians according to industry standards and practices. Students will train in labs and on boats and complete the program with ABYC student certification. The program also prepares students to test for regular ABYC certification, as well as selected Automotive Service Excellence certifications, which are valuable to employers.
The Business Development Board is your one-stop, countywide resource for information on relocating or expanding your business to or in Palm Beach County. Our free, confidential services include help with permitting, incentive funding assistance, workforce development, research services, and site selection, as well as project management and connections to public/private resources.
Whether you are new to Palm Beach County or already established here, the Business Development Board is uniquely positioned to help your business take full advantage and leverage all the resources available to you.