By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
As “days” go, this one’s a bit obscure. But it won’t be nondescript, at least to boaters and others at docks and slips today in much of the country.
The low-key celebration is National Marina Day, which offers watercraft enthusiasts the chance to learn boating safety, see demonstrations and check out gear while enjoying a beverage or something to eat.
Launched in 2001 to “burnish the marina industry’s already positive image,” the day celebrates those businesses that take care of watercraft owners and their sailboats, cruisers and yachts. At many marinas, boaters can dock their vessel while filling up with gas, gather supplies, grab a bite to eat or maybe take a dip in the pool.
At least three Charleston area marinas or groups were to take part in today’s festivities, but the events were postponed in South Carolina including the local venues due to Tropical Storm Andrea. The festivities have been rescheduled to next Saturday, June 15.
Participants and plans are:
• Charleston Harbor Marina will be hosting its 2nd annual National Marina Day event. According to the Mount Pleasant operation, “We will have merchandise tents as well as dock demonstrations from the Coast Guard and other local law enforcement.” Also, the venture will be offering “children’s events and food and beverages.”
• St. Johns Yacht Harbor on Johns Island is planning an abbreviated menu of special events including boating demonstrations and safety information.
• South Carolina Marine Association, based in Ravenel, said it will partner with “several South Carolina boat manufacturers” and fellow marine businesses to celebrate “Welcome to the Water.” It’s a partnership of marina day organizers and the Discover Boating advocacy group “to unite the marine industry to grow boating and celebrate on-the-water recreation.”
At least five other South Carolina marinas and boat clubs, from the Grand Strand to Hilton Head Island, plan to mark marina day on June 15.
According to the National Marina Day website, South Carolina ranks eighth highest with Virginia in the number of participating marinas by state this year. Florida is the prohibitive leader followed in order by Michigan; California; Wisconsin and Washington, tied; Texas; New York; South Carolina and Virginia; and Maryland. In all, marinas and groups in 44 states and the District of Columbia are participating.
The website provides a history of National Marina Day including how it came into being.
In Feb. 2001, the board of the Warren, R.I.-based Association of Marina Industries (AMI) approved plans to create “a national grassroots, public education initiative called National Marina Day.”
AMI set the day as the second Saturday of August, which was later changed to June.
Soon after, “a diverse committee of marina operators around the country” planed the first observance of National Marina Day.
The most recent schedule adjustment was rolling out the Welcome to the Water effort in conjunction with the annual day.
In their vision for the event, organizers see “marine industry stakeholders” such as marinas, dealers, manufacturers and boater education groups working together to host on-water fests nationwide that promote boating and “the boating lifestyle” while helping to increase the number of boat owners and participation in boating activities.
National Marina Day, according to backers, “has continued to grow and evolve into a day of celebrating marinas and the role they play in our communities and in our country’s recreation.”
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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