Despite having a beautiful 720 km coastline and attracting over 7 crore domestic and foreign tourists every year, Maharashtra earns dismal revenues from tourism, partly due to the lack of water sports related activities.
In a bid to change that, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has invited has invited proposals for water sports at various locations in the state, including Mumbai and Thane.
In total, the proposal covers over 45 locations across Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Mumbai and Thane, and water sports like jet skiing, para sailing, power boating, wakeboarding, windsurfing, water skiing, kayaking and water rafting among others.
These activities will be started at beaches like Marve, Manori, Versova and Juhu in Mumbai along with Uttan, Retibunder and Motagaon in Thane. Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty, which falls under the purview of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), will not be covered.
Before inviting proposals, the MMB finalized the Maharashtra Water Sports Policy 2015, which is aimed at boosting revenue from such activities and regulating them.
According to the policy, the MMB will demarcate a certain area in the sea for water sports corridors, water sports activity area, safe swimming and bathing areas by installing demarcation buoys. It will also decide on the maximum numbers of operators on one stretch of the beach based on the number of visitors and activities.
The activities will be allowed from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm or before sunset, whichever is earlier, and only when weather conditions are safe. The number and type of activities will change from beach to beach depending on feasibility.
The policy also states that the proposals will be evaluated on the basis of technical manpower, financial capability and local presence. For revenue, the MMB will levy various fees and collect deposits from the operators.
The MMB reportedly plans to launch the activities at most sites in the next 3 months.