It was back in the summer of 2007. The phone rang and a lady on the other end said: “Now that you’ve retired from the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, we think you’re just the guy to start a blog for marine dealers.”
With years of declining sales finally behind us and our recovery from the Great Recession, while disappointingly slow, well under way, you’ve gotta like the solid evidence that our future is good as shown in the Coast Guard’s latest National Recreational Boating Survey.
Cost control is something we often consider in the context of budget cuts. But as a priority part of our business plan? Perhaps not. Still, if it can prove a successful strategy for an airline, it could be useful in a boat dealership.
A lot of spring rain isn’t necessarily welcomed in all parts of the country, but for dealers in the Houston area, rain could be making a big difference. At least that’s the feeling around the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston as organizers just wrapped up the 27th annual edition of the Houston Summer Boat […]
Reputation is one word that can impact everything.
There’s no denying we continue to see modest improvement in boat sales as the economy delivers slow growth. But as dealers approach a new model year, attend dealer meetings and project orders, there are some clouds on the horizon that could upset any sustained growth and dealers should remain particularly alert to current issues and […]
There might be no other state where boating groups are more engaged in efforts to secure the marine industry’s future than in Florida, proving once again that our industry’s marine trades associations do what individual dealers couldn’t accomplish by themselves.
When Yogi Berra uttered his famous “You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you,” he could have been talking about the nation’s retailers and their courtroom loss in their quest for lower debit card swipe fees. Now the case could end up in the Supreme Court.
If you want to catch a tasty red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico today, you’re too late. The red snapper season ended at 12:01 a.m. this morning after running for just nine days.
“Up to my ass in alligators” is a popular metaphor we all know isn’t taken literally. Unless, that is, you’re Joe Lewis, chairman of the industry’s Grow Boating board, and Carl Blackwell, helmsman of our Discover Boating national campaign. They have reason to see it from a different perspective.
I must be traveling through another dimension. I’ve been beamed into a war zone where the Great Lakes are being threatened by approaching armies of Asian carp and there’s no agreement on how — or even if — the battle to prevent an ecosystem defeat.
With all the talk about using social media in business today, one might assume that the good old email that started it all is now passé. That’s not necessarily so. Social media has its strengths. But email marketing is alive and well.
Last week I reported on the results of a survey being conducted by the education task force of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council.
The results are in from the recent survey conducted by the education task force of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council and there’s nearly unanimous belief among the 166 respondents that boater education and training are important to boat buyers (97 percent said yes, 3 percent no).
No fisherman ever wants to see thousands of fish suddenly doing the backstroke … unless they happen to be Asian carp.
Talk about warming: Discover Boating continues to be hot, while what to do about the planet remains a dilemma.
The education task force that is part of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council is seeking input from dealers on boater education.
There will be plenty of excitement when MarinaFest 2014 hits Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey, Calif., on May 17 for a day-long boating celebration.
If you read this blog regularly, you know I believe strongly in our industry’s Discover Boating national campaign. And the launching last week of “Stories of Discovery” just adds to my enthusiasm.
I asked my son, a Gen Xer, why he doesn’t have a boat. He certainly knows boats — he grew up in a boating family. It’s not a question of money — he can afford one. He likes boating — whenever he visits he wants to go fishing on my boat. So why?
The Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association will hold a “Marina Operators Roundtable” on May 7 in Fort Myers. It’s being billed as a special opportunity for marinas, boat dealers and related service companies to network, identify and explore a variety of common interest issues facing the industry on Florida’s west coast.
There are training simulators for just about everyone these days — pilots, police, tanker captains, military personnel, driver’s education classes, on and on. So why not a simulator for boater training?
Sunday was the fourth anniversary of the explosion aboard the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The passage of time might be fading the memory, but it shouldn’t be forgotten.
Taking a page from the National Marine Manufacturers Association playbook, state and local marine trade associations should be active in encouraging the formation of caucuses in state legislatures that are sensitive to pro-boating policies.
In what is the most intense campaign to date to attract more diversity into the ranks of the nation’s boaters and anglers, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation recently unveiled the Spanish language Internet portal “Vamos a Pescar” that targets the growing Latino market.
“If you’re torn between two or three models from different brands, the quality of the dealership and its staff may well sway your decision,” Jim Hendricks advised readers in the February issue of Boating magazine.
I was fishing in lower Tampa Bay during the weekend when Carnival’s “Paradise” and Royal Caribbean’s “Brilliance of the Seas” passed by, heading out on their weekly cruises to Mexico. It reminded me there are some interesting parallels between their kind of cruising and ours.
As we enter our best selling months, good news comes our way. Consumers are more optimistic; home equity loans indicate people are feeling wealthier; and there are expectations that pent-up demand alone could gives boat sales a good spring.
Kudos to the National Marine Manufacturers Association and BoatUS as they fight fire with fire by supporting the American Petroleum Institute’s launch of ads urging Congress to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard and its disastrous ethanol mandate.
No, I don’t mean literally. But three experiences in the last few days have made me, as a customer, 1) feel good, 2) feel recognized and 3) makes me want to be a customer in the future. Here they are.
In a blow to the nation’s retailers that have fought (and won) for nearly four years to limit bank “swipe fees,” a U.S. appeals court recently reversed a lower court’s decision that sided with retailers and ordered the Federal Reserve to rewrite its rules governing allowable fees that banks can charge each time a customer’s […]
Many knowledgeable people in our industry say we need to build less expensive boats, especially if we hope to attract the Gen Xers and the Millennials. Friends I talk to in dealerships echo a similar theme: “These days, every deal always comes down to price.”
Turn on the evening news these days and it’s mostly negative. Doom-and-gloom reports of slow growth. A missing airliner. Fear of terrorist attacks. A Cold War-type crisis. Climate change. Rising interest rates. An exhausting winter that never ends.
The Environmental Protection Agency says that summer algae blooms are one of the nation’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems. Summer algae blooms (which derive from excess phosphorus) are currently polluting the nation’s lakes and bays from the Chesapeake to the Pacific Northwest. And it’s game on in what’s going to be a battle […]
Not since the 1960s has pollution of our waterways made such headlines. From Chesapeake Bay to the Pacific Northwest, from Canada’s Lake Winnipeg to the Gulf of Mexico, summer toxic blue-green algae blooms have been shutting down recreation areas and constitute another barrier to new boaters joining our ranks.
Most dealers have heard of it, but can’t define it. Most manufacturers don’t know the details, either. Still, it’s a whopping $600 million program using public funds to annually boost boating and fishing and it’s up for reauthorization.
For dealers in 38 coastal states who depend on successfully selling boats to saltwater anglers, the good news is that a serious push is on to improve the often misguided policies that currently manage our fisheries.
I recently received an email survey from the Loggerhead Club & Marina in St. Petersburg, Fla. My Pursuit has been in the Hi & Dry there for several years, so it’s not the first time Loggerhead has sent me a survey.
We are an industry sensitive to price increases at the gas pump. The higher the price, the more negative the pressure on our ability to attract prospective boaters. So when a significant hike in the federal gas tax is being pushed, it grabs our attention.
There is so much being written and said about diversity, particularly getting our boating lifestyle message out to the growing Hispanic market. But when we talk about diversity these days, are we looking past the African-American market?
Most show managers will admit that when exhibit space is selling out, allocating good floor space to non-revenue-producing educational displays isn’t easy. NMMA vice president Cathy Rick-Joule knows that feeling. Still, she insists on earmarked high-traffic space for an “Affordability Pavilion” that she believes sends a necessary message to potential new boaters.
Starting today, Miami is the center of the world’s boating universe. The Progressive Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail covers three locations and the in-water Yacht & Brokerage Show runs alongside Collins Avenue for more than a mile.
Kudos to the National Marine Manufacturers Association for the creation of Boating United, a new grassroots advocacy platform that has real potential for increasing the influence of recreational boating in Washington.
It’s good news that the marine industry recently generated a whopping 1,600-plus comments in just two weeks supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to stop any increase in the quantity of ethanol required to be blended in gasoline for 2014.
Every time I take one of our vehicles in for service at Crown Automotive Group, I receive a customer survey in my email about 48 hours later. I used to just delete those emails, but now I usually complete them, especially if I’m offered a discount coupon for my next service as a thanks for […]
This simply can’t be ignored. A whopping 80 percent of today’s shoppers are researching their major purchases online. The question is: Does your website bring them into your store? If the answer is “no” or “not enough,” here’s some real help.
The battle over corn ethanol in our fuel rages on. And if you haven’t fired a shot, today is your day because tomorrow will be too late.
Can the ukulele and a boat have anything in common? Probably more than you’d first think.
Arguably, the markets hit most severely by the economic collapse of 2008 could be found in the Rust Belt capitols of Cleveland and Detroit. So when we can see clear signs those markets are recovering, it sends good vibes everywhere as we move into the heart of our winter boat show season.
“There’s an interest charge on my credit card statement that I don’t believe should be there,” I told the Bank of America customer service rep after going through phone hell to reach a live person. After looking at my account, she gave me an explanation that didn’t make much sense. So I walked her through […]