SIC 4493 Marinas


SIC 4493

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in operating marinas. These establishments rent boat slips and store boats, and generally perform a range of other services including cleaning and incidental boat repair. They frequently sell food, fuel, and fishing supplies, and may sell boats. Establishments primarily engaged in building or repairing boats and ships are classified in SIC 3731: Ship Building and Repairing or SIC 3732: Boat Building and Repairing. Establishments primarily engaged in the operation of charter or party fishing boats or rental of small recreational boats are classified in SIC 7999: Amusement and Recreation Services, Not Elsewhere Classified.





Marinas are usually very small operations, with about half of marinas employing between five and nine workers, most of whom are seasonal. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) estimated that in the mid-2000s there were 12,000 marinas, boatyards, yacht clubs, dockominiums, parks, and related facilities. That number has remained relatively unchanged since 2000. Marinas enjoyed an expansive period between 1992 and 1997, when the number of marinas increased 26 percent; showed a 53 percent increase in revenues; had an increase in employees of 27 percent; and had a 49 percent increase in annual payroll. According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the number of registered boats increased 14 percent between 1990 and 1999. The number of people who enjoyed boating was 78.4 million in 1997 before declining during late 1990s and early 2000s. However, by 2003 the number of boaters, which had fallen to 68 million in 2001, was back up over 72 million people.

The number of marinas, however, was in jeopardy of falling in the mid-2000s due to lucrative land values that enticed marina owners to sell to condominium developers. Growth in the market was fueled by the construction of high-end, luxury and hospitality and entertainment centers. Once sought for simple storage, by 2005 the marina concept was developing into a "destination" for shopping, entertainment, and fun.

The marina industry faced some challenges at it moved into the new millennium, including the shaky economic climate. Recreation and travel in general faced numerous problems due to the events of September 11, 2001, which resulted in people traveling and spending less. The war with Iraq in 2003 and escalating fuel prices also had a negative affect on this sector. Despite ongoing high fuel prices, the boating industry began to recover in 2003, and in 2004 expenditures on boating increased by 8 percent.


Marinas, always on or adjacent to the water, have varied physical shapes and sizes, offer a diverse range of services, and lend themselves to different ownership arrangements. Each marina has limitations and options to serve the boating public.

A marina rents, leases, or sells slips, usually in a boat basin with piers and stationary or floating docks. More than 8,000 marinas, with about 400,000 slips, sell marine services. There are moorings and anchorages for about 33,000 boats. More than 200 dry slip or land-based, often stacked, boat facilities store up to 150,000 boats on racks in buildings or on open land. Approximately 1,100 boat yards provide wet slips. More than 100 dockominiums berth boats in clusters of individually owned docks. More than 80 percent of the marinas provide yard services to maintain, repair, or build boats.

Financial Structure

Marinas are located on gravel pits, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, coastal waterways, and oceans. All marina ownership is held by the owner of the associated upland. Water rights are leased from the government. In many states, a government body holds coastal water rights for the public interest.

About 70 percent of marinas are privately owned, for profit businesses that sell services to the public. About 1 to 2 percent of the marinas are cooperative or condominium housing development or yacht club marinas, which serve their members and offer reciprocity privileges to other associations. The remaining 30 percent are municipal, state, and federal government marinas, which are open to the public at minimal or no cost, although some federally owned marinas are exclusively used by the military.

More than 70 percent of marinas are owner-operated, stand-alone facilities. Corporations, families, and retired business owners provide slips and sell fuel and minimal provisions. Investment sources are often friends, family, or local banks and savings and loans establishments. Larger marinas are often expanded owner-operated facilities.

Full-service marinas are owned by private or publicly traded real estate corporations. Some offer extensive boat yard services. Others are development complexes. They showcase marinas in two architecturally consistent mixed-use categories that maximize land-bound sales. Urban revitalization complexes integrate commercial space with residences. Resorts emphasize water- and land-based recreation and sports. Investment sources are banks, savings and loans establishments, venture capitalists, private and public industrial and recreational development bonds, investment banking, pension funds, and life insurance companies.

Full-service marinas have broad profit centers. Product sales are derived from slip and building fees, diesel, gasoline, propane and alcohol fuels, engine oil, vending machine products, marine and grocery goods, electronics, custom-built equipment...

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