The Importance of Maritime Law

Almost everyone felt the sting of the financial crash of 2008, but good news: we are coming back. Recreational industries are a great marker of how strong the market is; if consumers feel the pinch they let go of the fun stuff first. It should make you breath a fresh sigh of relief, then, to find out that the boating industry is on the upswing.
2012 saw a ten percent increase in recreational boat sales, nationally. It may not seem like much, but 2013 is expected to see the growth continue. The Miami Herald reported that Miami and Fort Lauderdale boat retailers and servicers have seen a steep increase in sales. Les Stewart, the sales and marketing director of Contender Boats Inc. in Homestead, FL, said that the company expects to sell 260 boats this year. That’s over a 100 percent increase from 2009 when they were, “lucky to sell a hundred boats…” according to Stewart. Contender also touts a 30 percent increase in the number of people it employs in the same timeframe. And that’s not the only South Florida company enjoying the return to recreation.

Companies like Deep Impact and Concept Boats are operating at maximum capacity. Deep Impact invested in development of new models during the recession and it paid off. They have already sold four of the 399 Cabin since its recent unveiling. Concept Boats is swamped with potential buyers who are attracted to the affordable prices they offer. The 30-foot open and 36-foot open are their best sellers.

Although many boaters downsized during the recession to save on maintenance and crew costs, the large luxury yacht industry has gained strength. In just two years, 2010-2012, yachts falling in the range of 80 to 200 feet saw a 30 percent increase in sales. Of course, the people who buy these multi-million dollar machines didn’t experience the economic decline like most of us. The smaller yachts are still moving slow, and the companies that manufacture them are relying much more on servicing for revenue than they were before 2008.

Since Broward Shipyard was bought and sold in 2009, the company’s income from servicing is 35 percent higher. Although
their engineering sector has declined, it still remains a focus for the company. Two 135-foot yachts are under construction for their client, World Sea Yachting.

It seems that although boat sales have climbed, many water enthusiasts are opting for chartering, and family friendly boats are proving to be the most popular. Not only has the boating industry seen growth but so has the cruise ship industry. Larger ships, more voyages and unfortunately more accidents as well. Whether staying close to home or island hopping, it’s important to understand what law governs your time on the open waters. Once a boat or cruise ship travels three nautical miles from shore Federal maritime jurisdiction rules over state laws. Gerson & Schwartz P.A. are experts in maritime law. If an accident occurred on or around the water you can count on Florida maritime attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. to give you sound advice. They represent clients injured in a number of different situations and have years of experience.

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