South Carolina launches first Boating and Fishing Week, industry seeing 13-year high in boat buying

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina’s first designated Boating and Fishing Week is this week.

Governor McMaster announced the inaugural event earlier in the week at a press conference, alongside The South Carolina Boating and Fishing Alliance (SCBFA), one of the driving forces behind the devoted week.

The SCBFA’s goal is to bring together manufacturers, dealers, retailers, and boaters.

The CEO of SCBFA, Gettys Brannon, says South Carolina has one of the most unique economic mixes of boating and fishing industry leaders in the world.

“We thought it would be a good idea to showcase what South Carolina has done for the industry, what boating and fishing does for mental health, and what being outside does for people after the global pandemic,” Brannon said.

Boating and Fishing Week acts as an advocacy for both industries and showcases what the state has done to keep the industry thriving from an economical and natural resource perspective.

The goal is to expand and protect available access to water and fishing while recognizing experiences that make South Carolina’s waterways unique to other states.

“We have four or five of the largest fish and tackle manufactures phased here and over 27 boat manufacturers that are here. We represent about five billion in our economy each year and over 23,000 jobs,” Brannon said.

Last summer, there was a boat shortage as more people took summer activities outside and on the water during the pandemic.

Now the industry is at a 13-year high in boat buying and a 13-year low in supplies.

“Supply and demand have changed a lot during COVID. I think a lot of people that had money saved for vacations or whatever they may do in a typical year, bought boats, got outside more,” Brannon said.

Brannon says that South Carolina’s boating and fishing industry is nearly a five billion dollar contributor to the economy and home to about 650 boating and fishing-related businesses.

Like most industries right now, the boating industry is also experiencing a worker disparity.

The SCBFA says there are a lot of manufacturing opportunities for those looking for a job. To those who feel capable of learning, go to a boat builder and learn how to become part of the manufacturing process.

For more on the SCBFA, click here.

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