Coast harbor masters talk boat slip rental numbers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast harbor masters talk boat slip rental numbers

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

As schools let out and the weather warms up, more people will be looking to go for a boat ride. Is all this translating into more boat slip rentals for coast harbors?

Bay St. Louis Harbor officials said much of their harbor's appeal comes from what's just outside of the harbor.

"Having a downtown right here gives them a lot of options as far as dining, shopping," said Harbor Master Chuck Fortin. "There's different activities. There's a museum. Just there is a lot to do once they get here. They don't have to go anywhere else."

All the slips here are for pleasure boats and 56 percent of them are currently rented mostly by people who live outside the local area. The harbor master said that's impressive for just one year in operation.

Fortin said, "We've had over 200 individual transient visitors since opening. They get back to their homeport. Talk to their friends. They come and check it out, and it just spreads."

Pass Christian recently expanded its harbor to a total of 509 slips with 283 of them for commercial vessels. Officials said right now 96 commercial slips are rented but that number constantly fluctuates.

"The commercial boaters are going to move to where the shrimp are," said Pass Christian Harbor Master Willie Davis. "We have a lot of boats that when Louisiana opened up they all left and went to Louisiana to go over and shrimp over there. Now that Mississippi has opened up today, a lot of those boats will come back if they're doing good on the shrimping. If not, they'll stay over there."

Some officials see a business boom for all coast harbors just over the horizon.

"Because if you go to the yard there are so many boats on the yard getting redone," said Davis. "People are starting to put back into those activities. So I figure next year with all the boats on the yard, everybody should start seeing a lot more boat traffic coming into the harbors. Not just ours. Everybody should."

In the Gulfport Harbor, officials said of 320 boat slips, 131 are rented. Long Beach has 213 slips and officials said 141 of those are currently being leased.

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