BoatUS: Boat Owners Association of the United States

Tom Murray of Virginia Institute of Marine Science Honored with BoatUS Access Award

Economist is Longtime Advocate of Working Waterfronts

Dr. Thomas J. Murray, an economist with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), was honored with a BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award in recognition of his commitment to keeping the nation's waterfronts at work for recreational boating and championing water-dependent businesses and industry that drives local economic development.

Murray serves as VIMS's Associate Director for Advisory Services and as Extension Program Leader for Virginia Sea Grant.

Tom Murray, BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award Honoree
Tom Murray, BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award Honoree.

In 2007, Murray conceived and co-chaired the first national conference examining water access, "At a time when boaters were losing slip space to residential development, and public marinas and other boating services were being forced off the waterfront," said BoatUS Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Ryck Lydecker, who presented the award today to Murray at the 2013 National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium in Tacoma, Washington. Murray's work on that first successful watershed boating access event inspired a second such national symposium, in Maine, 2010, as well as today's 2013 Symposium.

"Any time someone mentions economics and boating in the same breath, Tom's name is always the first one that comes to my mind. But the experience, wisdom, and collaborative spirit that he brings as an advocate of the boating industry goes far behind just economics. He truly has dedicated his career and life to boating and so many of us have benefitted from his work," added Lydecker.

As an economist and business specialist, Murray is credited with bringing together previously competing interests to preserve coastal access in Virginia and nationwide. He helped facilitate the establishment of marine trades organizations and curricula at local community colleges, and revived the Virginia Marine Trades Association. In 2010, VIMS recognized him for his outstanding work in reaching out and providing advisory services to Virginia's coastal businesses and communities.

Murray has also helped secure federal grant funds which have resulted in a number of new facilities benefiting cruising boaters on the Chesapeake Bay, and has authored many economic impact studies and reports on subjects such as the economic impact of the Miami Boat Show and boater spending in Virginia. He is a member of the Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) review committee, which funds transient boating facilities, and is an advocate of clean marina programs.

At VIMS, Murray continues to disseminate practical information to policy makers and boating professionals alike, while at home he proudly helms his Boston Whaler center console outboard fishing boat that he uses in the waters of Virginia's Middle Peninsula on the Chesapeake Bay.


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