An economic impact study of yachting business along the Dania Cutoff Canal shows that the $6 million dredging project that wrapped up in 2013 has produced up to six times the economic impact that state officials thought it would.
In the summer of 2014, officials from the Florida Inland Navigation District, the group that headed the dredge project, estimated the economic increase to be between $3.6 million and $9.2 million per year, plus 24-38 new jobs for the marine facilities along the canal.
The new study, which is still in its draft form and produced by Thomas J. Murray & Associates on behalf of FIND, concludes that it has spurred a $23.4 million boost in business and created 132 new jobs. The dredging project deepened the canal, which runs from the Intracoastal Waterway west on the southern border of Port Everglades, from 10 feet to 15 feet of controlling depth.
“The deeper canal opens the area up to the larger end of the market,” said Phil Purcell, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. “Our skill set as a region matches the ability we now have to attract those projects. To have the big Lurssen Apogee here, that never would have happened before, ever.”
All the shipyards and marinas along the Dania Cutoff Canal, including Derecktor, Dania Cut Super Yacht, and Harbour Towne, reported increases in businesses the summer after the dredging. (Read more: Larger yachts navigating South Florida waterway.) The study indicates that the trend has continued.
According to the study, yards on the canal grew from about 345 projects in 2013 to 532 projects in 2015 — a 54 percent jump.
But not all business and job growth along the canal can be attributed to the dredging alone, since it coincided with a rebound of the yachting industry after the financial recession as well as multiple upgrades that various yards initiated. Derecktor, for example, installed a new 900-ton lift at the end of 2012. Dania Cut Super Yacht Repair added seven new slips for large yachts, upgraded power and dredged its basins during the dredging. Harbour Towne Marina upgraded to a 100-ton lift.
Still, the dredging has been significant, yard executives said. Some more statistics from the report:
* The length of boatyard projects increased from an average of 30 days in 2013 to 35 days in 2015.
* The majority of boatyards now report waiting lists for service, while none had waiting lists in 2013.
* Businesses along Dania Cutoff Canal added 132 jobs, paid $6.6 million in labor income, and paid almost $800,000 in additional taxes.
Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.