DON'T MISS THE BOAT: THE SMALL WATERCRAFT TREND

1 Mar, 2017

To many in our communities, the local marina is as distant and forbidding as Area 51. From the outside looking   in they see security fences and locked gates. The unintended message is, “The water is for the privileged few.”

That may be changing. There is a growing trend to build marinas with facilities for sailing dinghies and affordable human-powered water craft. Kayaks and other paddle boats can be supplied by rental concessions or brought to the marina on a car top. Sailing dinghies can be part of clubs and schools. When equipped with low freeboard or slanted-deck docks, young but eager student sailors build confidence by launching and retrieving their sailing dinghies unassisted.

Human-powered watercraft is the fastest growing segment of the boating industry. That’s not surprising given the surge in active outdoor lifestyles. How many friends did you see today wearing a Fitbit? Marina “dead spots,” notches and corners too small for maneuvering and unusable for slips, come alive when repurposed for paddle sports. Even the narrow and shallow strip of water between the parking lot and the first mainwalk can become Kayak Boulevard, as in Blu Harbor Marina in Redwood City, California (see photo on page 23).

Marinas around the country are incorporating clever and imaginative dock structures designed to help make ingress and egress of kayaks and other paddle boats safer and more stable. They can be specially configured to assist the disabled go from wheelchair to kayak on their own.

The result of this trend is new energy in the marinas as more people are involved in boating. The community shares the love of watersports together, young and old. The hedge fund manager uses the same marina as the barista that makes his coffee.

FOR A COMPLETE COPY OF THE ARTICLE DOWNLOAD THE PDF.

 

 

Dont_Miss_the_Boat_the_Small_Watercraft_Trend_Mar_2017-3.pdf Dont_Miss_the_Boat_the_Small_Watercraft_Trend_Mar_2017-3.pdf