Thinking Outside the Boat

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Thank you for visiting CruisingTheICW, your “Thinking Outside the Boat” blog.

As a career destination marketer, cruising has been an eye-opening experience. Far too many ICW destinations publicly give lip service to the importance of the cruising and leisure market, while privately saying it has little economic impact.  When asked for research to back up the assertion, they admit it’s non-existent.  Other destinations like Charleston, SC, Wilmington and Elizabeth City, NC and Brunswick, GA have recognized the market for years.  For many small coastal communities without interstate access, the Intracoastal waterways of America have become or could be their “interstate.”

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Over the years, the lack of knowledge of the leisure cruising market and its impact may have well contributed to the lack of Federal funding for dredging our intracoastal waterways – funding that is mandated by law.  But, the fact that the Federal funding formula is based on commercial traffic on the ICW and does not include leisure cruising is no doubt the biggest factor.  Without dredging, the waterway and especially inlets silt in, making many areas impossible for tugs, barges, and small intracoastal cruise ships  to navigate except on high tide, thereby negatively impacting commercial traffic.

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Most leisure boating is local or within a day trip of a boater’s homeport. We hope this blog with encourage readers that haven’t cruised the ICW to try it.  My wife and I found it addictive.  As a result, our son and his new bride cruised our old boat on a honeymoon trip from Charleston to Beaufort, NC.  Our daughter and her family and friends enjoy cruising their center console boats to ports within a day trip from Charleston.  They often have multiple boats cruising together and stay in bed and breakfast inns at their destination.  Besides the beautiful scenery and relaxation of being on the water, our family has discovered the comradery of the cruising community, regardless of boat size.

If you’re reading this and  haven’t tried cruising, do your research and plan an overnight cruise.  I’m guessing it’s a safe bet you’ll find it as addictive as the rest of the cruising community has.

Fair winds and following seas.