TRAVERSE CITY — Robert Brown sees only one drawback to being a boating enthusiast in Traverse City.
Other than that, he said, it’s smooth sailing in this town for those who love to boat.
Now, a national magazine agrees with him. BoatU.S. Magazine named the Traverse City area one of the 10 best communities in the country for retirees who love to sail or motorboat on the open waters of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay.
“I think it’s great,” Brown said as he untied the sails on his New England cat boat in the Clinch Park Marina. “It’s kind of unique here. There are not that many bodies of water like Grand Traverse Bay. Eighteen miles with land on three sides. It’s a comfortable place to sail and it’s easy to get to other destinations like Northport and Charlevoix.”
The article, called “10 Great Boating Towns: To Retire + Play + Thrive!” took into consideration not just boating access points and water resources, but also the attractiveness of the community as a whole.
The BoatU.S. Magazine is a product of BoatU.S., which is the largest boat owners association in America with more than 550,000 members.
“We looked at a lot of places and Traverse City just offered so many things for people who are retired,” said Bernadette Bernon, editorial director for the magazine. “We looked at places that were urban enough for the off-season … it’s got a rich (cultural) life for the winter. It’s got good access for traveling out of town to visit grandchildren or visits or family, and, of course, there is an enormous range of places to boat in that area.”
A 2009 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study found Great Lakes recreational boating produces over $9 billion in annual economic impact for the Great Lakes basin and more than 60,000 jobs.
Mike Norton, spokesman for the Traverse City Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, said the recognition from the magazine article is great news for the region’s economy.
“It’s a huge tool for us in helping to get the word out about what a wonderful place this is,” Norton said.