“I want to see over 60 million Americans fishing,” Frank Peterson, president of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, told the National Marine Trades Council’s annual meeting in Orlando this week. The NMTC consists of executives from the major marine trade associations around the country and was meeting in conjunction with the MRAA’s Marine Dealer Conference & Expo.
As we know too well, after years of steady growth, recreational boating and fishing participation rates leveled off or significantly declined. RBFF was formed to implement a national outreach strategy to increase participation in boating and fishing. It’s funded primarily by powerboat fuel taxes deposited in the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund (dubbed Wallop-Breaux fund), and it is, without a doubt, an outstanding federally funded program the boating industry can cheer about.
“Our vision,” said Peterson, “is to make boating and fishing preferred choices for leisure pursuits among American families.”
“Amazing” is an understatement when describing how RBFF is reaching out to America with the boating/fishing message. A variety of RBFF studies on boating/fishing participation and consumer attitudes are must-reads for every dealer. For example, a just-completed “Quantitative Study of Consumer Attitudes” that included more than 3,000 respondents was conducted by RBFF and BrandSpark International. It reveals key insights into current consumers’ attitudes about boat purchases.
“The boating lifestyle has not waned,” said Peterson. “People are going to continue to buy boats but are certainly doing their research for the best value. We hope our boating stakeholders will use this research to help guide their sales and marketing strategies for the coming year.”
You’ll find all the studies by clicking here.
But the real public face of RBFF is its Take Me Fishing campaign. In the past, you’ve likely seen TV and print adds touting the Take Me Fishing message. But these days, the campaign uses all media, especially the Internet and social media. The website, www.takemefishing.org, contains an incredible amount of information. For example, it is cataloging all access sites on every public body of water in 38 states; 38,000 ramps and marinas; a portal to fishing licenses and boat registrations; and so much more. Magazines like Popular Mechanics, BASS, Field & Stream and others are linking it on their websites. It has enjoyed over 4.4 million visitors so far this year.
Because access to the Internet has become so mobile in the last two years (smart phones, iPads, etc.) Take Me Fishing is also “going mobile.” Some 24,000 people have already loaded information from Take Me Fishing to their hand-held devices, and the RBFF is rapidly expanding is mobile versions so more can be accessed.
After hearing Peterson’s presentation to the NMTC, I can only urge every dealer to go to the research studies and, especially, go to www.takemefishing.org and spend some time exploring the site. It’s a resource you can recommend to your customers, and you will be impressed with what you’ll find there.