Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10/1/13 Report - Poll Results, Florida's Treasure Resource & Beach Conditions.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

Well, it is the first day of October.  Where has the time gone?

There are two disturbed areas marked out on the National Hurricane Center map right now.  One is Tropical Storm Jerry, which will probably not come our way and will probably not affect us at all.

The other area has a 30% chance of forming and is now down near Central America and possibly heading to the Yucatan and possibly eventually to the Gulf Coast.

A lot of people are interested in treasure.  This year people around the world have been learning from the national media about treasure discoveries made along the Treasure Coast.  That brought a lot of attention to the area.  I know that for a fact.  I personally heard from people up north who had no particular interest in treasure hunting but had learned about those discoveries through the national news.

Treasure is a very valuable resource for Florida.  That is one big reason that I posted the most recent blog poll.   I wanted to gather actual data.  And that data presents some important facts.

First of all, it is worth noting that on average each of the poll respondents made two or more visits to treasure museums.  Once was not enough.  Treasure enthusiasts are really enthusiasts, and they spend time and money on the hobby.

49% of the respondents have visited the Mel Fisher Museum in Key West.  As you know that museum is run by the Fishers, a private treasure hunting group that is funded by private investors.  The state gets their share of the finds and has built a huge collection of treasure coins and artifacts resulting from the salvage efforts of the Fishers and other salvage groups.

58% of the respondents have visited the Fisher treasure museum in Sebastian.  That is a significantly higher percentage than visited the museum in Key West despite Key West being a bigger town and more widely known as a tourist destination.

So why would that be?  First is the fact that a good percentage of those who read this blog on a regular basis live near the Treasure Coast or visit the Treasure Coast for metal detecting.  (I've given the statistics before on how many out-of-area and out-of-state people read this blog and visit the Treasure Coast for detecting.)

Although Key West is a big name when it comes to both treasure hunting and tourism, it is not a place that many people visit in order to metal detect.   They do not have extensive treasure beaches like the Treasure Coast down there.  Therefore despite the fact that Key West is much better known to people around the country and around the world, it is not a place that draws many detectorists who want to detect the beaches.

Sebastian, on the other hand, is close to the Treasure Coast beaches that are well known for metal detecting and treasure hunting and which draws tourists and residents who are interested in those activities.  As I recently pointed out, Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of the most visited of Florida's state parks.

People who learn about the Treasure Coast by hearing about the treasure discoveries made along the Treasure Coast, visit and spend their money on treasure related activities, museums being just one.   Of course they buy meals, stay at restaurants, buy metal detectors, fuel their cars, etc. etc.

The McClarty Museum, run by the state as a part of the Sebastian Inlet State Park, was visited by 76% of the blog's respondents.  The admission charge to the McClarty museum is only one dollar, and it is manned by volunteers.  As good as it is, it does not receive a lot of promotion, but people who are interested in treasure hunting and metal detecting do visit the area and visit the museum as well.  Admission is only $1.00.  I should also say that I've often mentioned the McClarty Museum to the readers of this blog.

Even with the minimum admission fee and a excellent location on the Treasure Coast, combined visits to the two privately run Fisher museums out numbers visits to the McClarty.

Our state collections would certainly be much smaller if it weren't for those who invest their time and resources to salvage the shipwrecks.

One of the top museums in Florida and perhaps in the United States is the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.  It is operated by highly trained academics and charges an admission fee of nearly the same as the two Fisher museums (Around $13 for adults).

Despite the size and tax-payer resources put into it, the FMNH was visited by only 10% of the respondents to this blog.  That is only a small fraction of those that visited the Fisher Museums and the McClarty.  I think that is very significant.

48% of the respondents to this blog had also visited "other" treasure museums, displays or shows.  One that I mentioned a few days ago is the St. Lucie County History Center in Fort Pierce, which has a display on the 1715 Fleet.  I've also mentioned others in the past, both private and public.

This poll is far from perfect, but it did make some things clear.   One of the most surprising for me is how few  of the respondents visited the FMNH as compared to the treasure museums.  This shows that "treasure" is of interest to many people and should be recognized as an important resource for Florida.

Unfortunately I didn't think to add a category for those that did not visit any museum, so the sample is not as large as it would have been if non-attenders were included.  That is one limitation of this poll.

The state has a huge collection of treasure coins and artifacts.  People that are interested in such things.  We know that because they pay upwards of $50 for books on the items in those collections.   Yet many have never personally seen a single coin from the state's collection.  That seems to me like a huge lost opportunity for Florida to capitalize on one of its huge resources.

We know that treasure brings attention to Florida and draws tourists.  We know that people are interested in the fantastic treasure that has been found in Florida and continues to be found in Florida. The national media knows it.  People visit museums, buy books, and visit the treasure beaches after learning about it.

Can Florida better use this resource?

I didn't take a ton of time to do this post.  Feel free to correct any errors that I might have made.

The surf today on the Treasure Coast is 2 - 3 feet.  That will be down to around one foot by this weekend.

The tides are still relatively flat.

Happy hunting,