In anticipation of the 70th anniversary of The Seattle Boat Show, an event which attracts world-wide acclaim each year as the largest boat show on the West Coast, HR2 Research/Analytics wanted to take a moment to recognize the important contributions of the Northwest Marine Trade Association to boating habits in Washington and the Northwest at large. In 2011 and 2014, HR2 worked with the NWTA to discover the economic impacts of Washington State boat ownership, a venture which brought in over $3.4 billion in overall monetary annual impacts in current years.
Washington State contains exceptionally enjoyable waters and boating conditions for recreational use, but it is currently governed by some of the highest taxes for ownership nationally. In addition to high state taxes, Washington State also issues additional fees on boats purchased outside of the state. These taxes cause many resident recreational boat owners to keep their vessels and conduct all of their recreational boating activities out of state. Additionally, these fees deter owners in other states from visiting Washington for extended cruising, as well as repair and maintenance work. HR2 Research/Analytics found that these taxes may have an inefficient impact on the Washington-State economy.
HR2‘s research aimed to determine what tax and fee policies could strike the ideal balance between revenue generation and economic activity, including effects on employment and tax bases. Additionally, the research estimated the economic impacts resulting from changes in recreational boating activity stemming from new proposed legislation, including the net effects on state tax revenues. Included in the findings were boat populations and sales in Washington and nationally, as well as a comparison to previous years. The research analyzed spending on boat ownership throughout the lifecycle of the boat, including the initial engineering and design, fuel, moorage, maintenance and repairs, and parts to provide a quantitative estimate of the impact of yacht ownership in Washington State. Additionally, a residential boat owner and business survey was conducted throughout Washington, as well as key-person interviews with experts in the regional recreational boating industry, to gather opinions from the boat owners and businesses themselves.
This economic review of the boating industry provided the NMTA with an in-depth understanding of the revenue the boating industry brought to Washington State and nationally, enabling the NMTA to make an insightful and informed suggestion to Washington legislative officials on the positive and negative impacts of the state’s boating industry tax by-laws, prior to the initiation of a bill to re-evaluate the current imposed taxes.
As The Seattle Boat Show continues to grow in popularity and expanse, HR2 will monitor the trends in boating revenues for the state. Being one of the most naturally beautiful regions within the country, there is likely to be a continued growth in recreational boating in Washington. This expanse in the industry will surely be reflected in the number and quality of boats to be included in The Seattle Boat Show this year.
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