Impacts of West Coast moorage marinas

The Environmental and Economic Impacts of Moorage Marinas on the West Coast 

Regional researchers are calculating the wide range of economic and environmental impacts associated with moorage marinas in Washington and Southern California. Results will provide more reliable coastal development strategies for moorage marina policies.

Principal Investigator

Christine Bae (Washington Lead), University of Washington, Urban Design and Planning

Co-Principal Investigators

James Moore (Regional Lead), University of Southern California

Jiyoung Park, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Nathaniel Trumbull, University of Connecticut


An interdisciplinary research team calculated the net economic impacts of moorage marinas in Southern California and Western Washington by investigating economic gains, costs, and environmental externalities. To quantify such impacts, they used geographic information systems to correlate marina locations and NOAA Mussel Watch data on pollution and other impacts dating back to 1986, and they considered the costs and environmental benefits of non-copper antifouling bottom paint. These economic and environmental impacts can be compared for baseline and alternative scenarios, helping regulators and coastal communities develop prudent, informed marina policies.

Research Updates


Recreational boat sales are trending upward: in 2018, over $250 million in new boat sales were added to the $1.9 billion overall Washington State recreational boating industry. With this growth, the contribution of moorage marinas to local economies has become increasingly important. However, very little environmental monitoring at marina sites is taking place and coastal managers and marina operators have limited information to aid them in economic and environmental planning. The researchers fill this gap in knowledge by analyzing the net economic and environmental impacts of marinas in Southern California and Washington State.



Researchers used a multiregional input-output (MRIO) model to measure the economic gains and environmental impacts of marinas in Southern California and Washington. IMPLAN® data sources were used in the model for economic gains, and existing monitoring programs were used to quantify the environmental cost for each marina. The economic gain from marina activities in Southern California in 2014 was $2.9 billion, and the total economic impact was $4.6 billion. By contrast, the direct economic impact of Washington State marina activity was far greater at $5 billion with a total economic impact of $8.1 billion. 

The team also researched state bills regarding antifouling paint (AFP) (SB 5436; RCW 70.300.010, WA and SB 623 CCR section 6190, CA) and its economic impacts.