Mississippi Gulf Coast Named "Boating Hot Spot" - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/12/05

Mississippi Gulf Coast Named "Boating Hot Spot"

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is among the top destinations in the country for boating. That's according to a new survey by the National Boat Manufacturers Association.

The top seven locations include:  Biloxi, Mississippi, The Connecticut Shore of Long Island Sound, St. Michaels, Maryland, Charleston, South Carolina, Mackinac Island, Michigan, Kentucky Lake, Kentucky and Puget Sound, Washington.

Those who've enjoyed Mississippi's coastal waters for years, aren't surprised by the national recognition.

Boating has long been a favorite recreational activity for locals along the coast. The coast's resurgence as a tourist destination means more visitors are also finding fun on the water. The man in charge of Biloxi's public marinas isn't surprised by the national notice.

"In the last couple years, boats have gotten so much faster, the Gulf has gotten a lot smaller. We've got people from Texas, Florida, Louisiana, transients coming all year long stopping with us now," said harbormaster, Frankie Duggan.

Good fishing brings coast native Thomas Johanson back to Biloxi. The Tuscaloosa resident says a growing number of visiting boaters are discovering how easy it is to enjoy coastal waters.

"It's got a lot of access. It's fairly easy access for anybody and everybody. It's inexpensive to say the least. You don't have to pay a lot of launching fees," said Johanson.

The captain of the "Skipper" also credits the variety of destinations once you're on the water. And it's no longer just locals enjoying these waterways. The secret's out.

"They're finding out this is a wonderful place to come and bring their boats for a weekend or move out to the islands for a weekend. It's just been fantastic; the growth has been phenomenal," said Tom Becker.

More national positive press will likely add to the number of boaters who enjoy the waters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

By Steve Phillips

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