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ISS Blog

Playing in the Big Blue Wet Stuff

A guest blog spot by ISS Associate Editor Elaine Foxwell.



I admit, I dont swim, never learned, dont like being in the water. Drowning is an issue! But I love water sports ... as long as I'm on top of the wet stuff.


I crossed "the pond" on the HMS Ivernia; I've been white-water rafting a few times (only up to Class IV, but lotsa excitement); and I've enjoyed ocean sailing. I just dont like to swim. So when doing research for an article about a boat/RV facility in Arizona that became 100 percent full in just under a year, I had to check out this boating phenom.


I've actually been told there are more boats here in Arizona than any other state in the nation. Huh? I mean this is a desert ... land of rocks, cactus, sand that is currently experiencing its tenth year of drought. Who would buy a boat here? Where would they sail it? Well, it turns out a lot of people own watercraft in AZ; but the claim that there are more boats in Arizona  is really an urban legend.


Although this statement has been purported by such reputable sources as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Encyclopedia Britannica and The Arizona Republic, I cant find the source or date. But the U.S. Coast Guards records are verifiable and, according to the most recent I can find, Arizona was ranked No. 30 in 2004, with 147,294 registered craft.


The top three states were Florida, with 946,072 boats heading for the Atlantic; Michigan, with 94,800 (of course, it is close to those great big lakes); and California, with 894,884 (yeah, well, that states got all that sun and surf and Hollywood, what can I say?). Arizona drops even further down the list in per capita rank to a lowly 43. Still, I see a lot of shiny boats being towed down the highways on weekends. In fact, in 2004, the USCC reports there were more than 12.6 million boats registered in the U.S.


What does this mean for the self-storage owner? Boats are big bucks!!! And when you throw RVs into the mix, you are looking at a lot of expensive toysthat all need a home. Also, seems many of the people who can afford these pricey babies live in residential communities under the dictatorial eyes of HOAs that frown on an RV or a boat, even a little Hobie Cat, parked in plain sight.


So, storage owner, if you have even a smidgen of extra space that can be used to park a few boats or an RV or two, it may be wise to invest in that extra blacktop and a roof or two. I bet you will be amazed at the response.


Watch for our October 2007 issue, which will highlight boat and RV storage as an add-on service and highlight some facilities that are really making this ancillary work as a profit center.

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