A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

A taste of fishing

We’ve been burning the midnight oil lately getting our second issue of Anglers Journal wrapped up — put to bed, as they say — and out the door. We think that anyone in the industry with a passion for fishing — or who sells boats, motors, gear, tackle and accessories to anglers — will have […]

The appeal of innovation

For the last year, Correct Craft president and CEO Bill Yeargin has been working on the Manufacturing Council, a group of 25 business leaders who advise U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on a variety of manufacturing topics.

Two messages to heed

In the not-too-distant past, when our waterways were a bit more crowded, we heard more concerns raised about irresponsible boaters tossing large wakes or driving recklessly. The actions of a few bad apples were not only jeopardizing the safety of others, but they also put boating on the radar of overzealous regulators and waterfront homeowners. […]

Fiberglass is forever

We were looking through old stacks of Trade Only the other day for background when a front-page story I wrote nearly 25 years ago and had long forgotten jumped out at me.

Boating’s ‘great value’

We’ve been beating the affordability drum for a while now, but there it was back on the table last night. I was having dinner with a bunch of people, and the talk down at our end of the table inevitably drifted to boats — who was actively looking, who was somewhat looking and who was […]

Looking forward to the spring thaw

We all know this old chestnut from Mark Twain: “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.” This year, a “few minutes” only seemed to make things colder.

Can you fix this?

I was listening to “Car Talk” on NPR last weekend when the Magliozzi brothers took a call from a woman named Kathy who said she didn’t have a problem with her car, but rather her husband, who is a mechanic.

Ahhh, South Florida!

After more than a month of moving in and out of the polar vortex, it was nice to be back on the water off South Florida last night. Real nice.

The affordability challenge

If you want to get on the water, you’ll find a way to get on the water. Small boat. Project boat. Begged, borrowed or banged-up boat. But if you’re not among the upper middle class — say, the top 20 percent — you’re probably not buying a new premium brand.

Talk that leads to action

Diversity, advocacy, youth, affordability, the aging of our fleet and the graying of our core market — these issues have become part of regular industry dialogue during the past two years, thanks in large part to the inaugural Growth Summit in December 2011 and the continuing work of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council.

Spending is back

It wasn’t that long ago that an executive or business owner might have shied away from buying a new yacht because of the sensitivity of spending big money when millions of people were losing jobs. It was all about optics. They didn’t want to seem oblivious or callous with so many people struggling.

Pricier than a nice house

Nordic Tug dealer Ben Wilde of Wilde Yacht Sales in Essex, Conn., and Rock Hall, Md., has had a good fall. Wilde and his team have sold 10 brokerage boats since Oct. 1, with two more sales pending, most falling between $200,000 and $370,000.

The rising cost of boating

Mechanic Erik Klockars and I had a conversation the other day about the cost of boating while we winterized my boat and fiddled with a bunch of little things that needed tweaking and fixing. It’s a topic Erik and I like to kick around, even if we usually wind up agreeing to disagree.

What’s the purpose of life? This ex-big leaguer has an answer

When he came out of high school in Connecticut, the young catcher’s nicknames were the “Moose” and the “New London Strong Boy.” At 6 feet, 2 inches and 225 pounds, John Ellis was a tough, gifted athlete who at 20 years old found himself in the starting lineup for the New York Yankees as an […]

Boating’s uber-influencers

We all know the type. Outgoing, gregarious, passionate boaters who always seem to be getting new people out on the water. They’re the ones making things happen at the marina, the anchorage, the sandbar. They know everybody, and their energy is infectious.

What will I find at FLIBS?

I had a conversation with a co-worker a couple of days ago as we went over our schedules for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show that caused a moment of reflection. We were talking about an acquaintance who is in the industry but who had sort of gone flat on shows. We were puzzled.

‘Boats’ is a fun ride

We are living in and creating a media/entertainment landscape today in which video is shouldering aside traditional forms of communication as it rapidly gains audience and revenue.

Setting the imagination racing

A couple of weeks ago I started the draft of a column in which I made the argument that the America’s Cup was in need of a reboot and that sail-crazy New Zealand was just the country to do it. At that point, it looked as if the Kiwis could stumble their way to a […]

Rick Pitino, adversity and the America’s Cup

Putting together this piece Tuesday night, I was thinking about something IBEX keynote speaker Rick Pitino said last week prior to the opening of the marine technology conference. I was also thinking of this remarkably improbable America’s Cup, which saw Oracle Team USA come streaking back with two wins Tuesday to tie the series with […]

Listening for the hum of business at IBEX

Walking the floor with IBEX show director Anne Dunbar is like moving through stop-and-go traffic. She knows everybody, so we slow every 20 or 30 feet, less sometimes, while Dunbar shakes hands, hugs, jokes and chats — all the while keeping a watchful eye on the flock.

Assessing risk and preparing for the next storm

When I came home with a generator several years ago, my wife said, “What do need that for?” She grew up in Northern California. No hurricanes. I sighed. Just wait, I thought. Since then we’ve lost power three or four times for extended periods during winter and fall storms, the last being Hurricane Sandy.

Who wants to go for a boat ride?

The best vehicle for promoting our sport isn’t a video or a blog or a tweet or even a boat sitting in a showroom. It’s a boat ride. And the best ambassador for our sport is you and me.

The art of reinvention

Sometime this weekend, I will don a mask and snorkel and quietly prowl the shallow waters off southern Rhode Island, looking for striped bass. If the surf is up, the visibility won’t be great; the water will be sandy and full of tiny bits of pulverized shells and weed, and the fish will be a […]

A salute to IBEX

Disruptive technologies continue to make headlines. Some analysts predict that the PC market will never again achieve the numbers it once did, done in, so to speak, by tablets, smartphones and whatever the next big thing in mobile is. Think devices you will one day wear on your wrist.

Paying it forward: the making of a boating family

If you make it nice and inviting, they will come. And if you teach them with patience and care and make it fun, they’ll give it a good try. And if we’re all lucky, they will join the tribe and have a long and happy life messing around in boats.

Expecting growth but watching the weather

On the eve of the American Boating Congress, the Recreational Boating Leadership Council met for five hours on Tuesday to chart progress and hear from the six committees working on key components of the industry’s 10-year growth plan.

Time to dig deeper

I read a story over the weekend about how new technology is reopening natural gas fields under the stormy North Sea. Sections of the ocean floor that a decade ago companies turned their backs on as either tapped out or just too difficult to work are seeing a healthy revival, according to The Wall Street […]