As a recent transplant to Southeast Michigan, I never fully appreciated the number of marinas, boats, businesses, and recreational opportunities along Lake St. Clair in Macomb County. This past September, I attended the Boating and Outdoor Festival at the Lake St. Clair Metropark and gained a real appreciation for the region’s boating culture.
The boating industry is huge in Michigan. According to the Michigan Boating Industries Association, Michigan is the third largest marine market in the country, following Florida and Texas. Boasting an economic impact of $762.4 million in new boats, motors, trailers, and accessories in 2014, Michigan continues to outpace the national average.
I am pretty sure the sales reps at the Boating and Outdoor Festival didn’t anticipate a windfall kind of day when they saw me checking out the state-of-the-art fishing and powerboats, cabin cruisers, and personal watercraft, but I did have to talk myself down a few times while looking at the latest kayaks and smaller sailing craft.
After attending the festival, I am really excited to see what the Detroit Boat Show at Cobo Center has to offer, including all of the different exhibitors showcasing the latest navigation and communication equipment, docking systems, boats, apparel, and other opportunities such as charter trips and fishing on Lake St. Clair. I think my daughter will really enjoy some of the great activities planned, especially meeting a mermaid and watching the alligator wrangling!
This show will be a welcomed taste of summer on a February day. And I am sure with all the boats, fun, and water, there is bound to be a great tiki bar!
Brent Geurink is an associate planner for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development’s Land and Water Resources Group.