We couldn't agree more with The Sun's recent editorial caution against changing the revenue stream that feeds the Waterway Improvement Fund without first researching the likely outcome ("Bailing out yachts?" Sept. 4).
It is accurate to say that the Marine Trades Association has long advocated increasing the number of boats registering in Maryland. No one benefits more than members of the boating industry and the boating communities from a well-funded and robust Waterway Improvement Fund. That is why our continued goal is to partner with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to increase boat registrations in the state. Based on the recent success in Florida, where a cap on their tax generated in excess of $13.46 million in direct sales tax revenue for the state, we believe Maryland should thoroughly examine this alternative. In Maryland, more boats mean more jobs — every six boats registered in Maryland leads to more than one full-time job. It is important to note that Maryland currently registers only about 85 boats that are larger than 60 feet in length; with an industry statistic of 10 percent of a vessel's value being spent on maintenance, repair and storage each year, the spending and job generation could be huge.