The greater Wilmington/SENC region provides a unique set of features that support evolution and maturation of BlueTech that is critical to the evolution and maturation of the Blue Economy:
- It is adjacent to the second largest coastal riverine estuary system in the nation.
- Second only to Florida, North Carolina has the largest coastal access to the open ocean of all states on the East Coast. Indeed, North Carolina has almost the same number of coastal miles as Texas. North Carolina’s geographically desirable coastal plain provides direct access to the Atlantic Gulf Stream and is only 775 miles from Bermuda, providing ample opportunity for conducting point-to-point open sea trials.
- The Cape Fear/Wilmington basin has the lowest risk exposure to climatically induced sea level rise of any port city on the East Coast. Exposure to hurricanes may be problematic, but also provides numerous opportunities for developing BlueTech applied to oceanographic and meteorological research, as well as for coastal resilience planning and recovery.
- It has a sheltered river harbor and is home to NC Ports, which is engaged in strategic effort to improve its competitive advantage in maritime trade and services. NC Port’s enabling statute as a public corporation is one of the most expansive and flexible of any state in the nation.
- It is home to UNCW (scientific research), NC Ports (commercial application & deployment) and CFCC (workforce training), which establishes a “winning trifecta” to advance BlueTech capabilities.
- It has easy access to the NC Triangle innovation research, commercialization, and investor funding ecosystem.
- It is only one hour flight time to Washington, DC, providing easy access to and by policy makers, agency staff, and a broader investor ecosystem.
- Wilmington provides easy and convenient access to provide ‘in the shop’ and ‘on the water’ product demonstrations and convening of experts, policy makers and investors.
This combination of critical vectors is unique in the southeast. The BlueTech Economy workforce profile includes some of the highest paying jobs, both blue and white collar, in the nation and it has a low environmental impact footprint for advanced commercial & manufacturing activities.