Boating is important to Oregon economy, study says


CORVALLIS - Recreational boating is big business in Oregon, accounting for more than $1 billion a year in spending for equipment and services, and providing jobs for at least 29,000 people.

A new Oregon Sea Grant publication, "The Business of Boating Recreation in Oregon," takes a close look at the economics of the industry, from boat and equipment sales to such services as whitewater rafting, charter fishing and windsurfing.

The publication grew out of a 1995 study by Rebecca Johnson, an associate professor and economist with the Oregon State University Department of Forest Resources; Bruce DeYoung, a professor with the OSU College of Business and Sea Grant marine trades specialist, and Robert M. Neeley, an OSU graduate who then was enrolled in OSU's Marine Resource Management program.

"The study looks at the impact of the industry, rather than boating as recreation," said DeYoung. "It spells out the size and scope of the boating business in Oregon."

The study found that registered recreational boaters - those who own motorboats, or sailboats longer than 12 feet - had the greatest dollar impact on the state. They spent more than $850 million on their boats and boating activities, including accessories, fuel, repairs and lodging and meals associated with boat trips. Their spending alone generated nearly 26,000 jobs in 1995.

Non-registered recreational boating - mainly windsurfing and whitewater or float rafting - generated more than $131 million in the same period. Commercial operations, such as river cruises, charter boats and tours, generated nearly $17 million.

The complete, 27-page study is available for $5 from Oregon Sea Great, 402 Kerr Administration Bldg., Corvallis OR 97331. Ask for publication No. ORESU-G-98-003, "The Business of Boating Recreation in Oregon."

Oregon Sea Grant, based at OSU, is a statewide program that supports research, outreach and education on ocean and coastal issues. The Oregon program is part of a national network of Sea Grant programs organized under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.