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.
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.
It’s not always clear how closely our industry parallels the automobile industry in terms of trends, technology and other leanings. Sometimes we’re on the same highway headed in the same general direction, and sometimes we’re not.
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.
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.
You want to be successful in this business? Start by building or selling boats that are beautiful (or handsome), reliable and seaworthy.
Longtime Soundings contributing writer Mike Saylor has a way of distilling subjects to their essence.
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 [...]
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.
We rolled back into Fort Lauderdale last week with some unfinished business on our agenda.
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.
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.
A friend was talking the other day about a new boat that was so well built it was going to last “100 years.” Call it new-boat irrational exuberance, to borrow a phrase from Alan Greenspan.
With the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show just around the corner (Oct. 31-Nov. 4), we recently interviewed Billy S. Smith III, vice president of sales and marketing for Trinity Yachts, of New Orleans and Gulfport, Miss., the largest custom yacht builder in the country.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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.
In two weeks, many of us will be headed to Louisville for IBEX, with its strong lineup of technical seminars, expert speakers and a broad array of exhibitors.
Our industry is an interesting mix of tradition and innovation.
Capt. Eric Knott has spent 35 years on the water. A native of England, he followed his father into commercial fishing in the North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel and environs.
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.
You like big machinery? Then you’re going to like this video.
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 [...]
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.
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.
Are boats becoming more like cars? Or planes, perhaps?
There is a 13.5-foot yellow “banana” on the top of my Toyota 4Runner. Veteran Miami charter skipper Bouncer Smith would blanch at the thought of a yellow boat, especially one resembling a banana, which in Bouncer’s world portends bad, bad luck for anglers.
For all those in the business of designing, building, selling, maintaining and generally enjoying boats, a few thoughts on those things (mostly) pointy at one end and (mostly) square at the other, as summer swells and all thoughts turn to getting out on the water.
Over the last couple of years I have written a good bit about changing demographics and how they are affecting our industry today, tomorrow and 10 or more years from now.
Sometimes the simplest question yields the most revealing answer. Near the end of an hour-plus-long interview with successful marina entrepreneur Jack Brewer, we asked him what he believed was his company’s greatest asset.
Capt. Jim Nunes is one of the last of the old-time Cuttyhunk, Mass., fishing guides.
It was one of those special TV moments. Ad agency creative director Don Draper is making a pitch to two Kodak executives about a different way to position the company’s new slide wheel, which Draper is about to dub the “carousel.”
Lou Sandoval is a passionate sailor and co-founder/co-owner of Karma Yacht Sales, a successful Beneteau dealership on Lake Michigan in Chicago. He is also very active in the industry.
The headlines accompanying the release of the Coast Guard’s 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics earlier this week correctly trumpeted the decrease in boating deaths, injuries and accidents. That’s good news.
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.
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 [...]
New-boat sales have cooled during a chilly spring, but experts think the economy will weather the sequester and builders and dealers are upbeat.
I was walking past a row of boats on the hard at the Palm Beach International Boat Show in March when I did a double take over something to my left. I stopped and circled back. Pretty boat? Pretty girl?
Given all the changes and upheaval taking place in media these days, newspapers and magazines with longevity and a strong, steady pulse are worthy of note.
Gray Harker has a way with boats and a way with words.
The spirit of entrepreneurship and the dream of building a better mousetrap was alive and well at the Palm Beach International Boat Show last week.
Phin Sprague Jr. is part contrarian, part libertarian, part Yankee. The veteran offshore sailor also is the founder of the Maine Boatbuilders Show, which finished up Sunday, and the owner of Portland Yacht Service, a full-service yard in Portland, Maine.
The image of the young kid driving the well-worn little tub named Whisper was just what I was looking for.
Tired of feeling as if your voice isn’t being heard? Want to get out ahead of issues for a change? Get in front of folks who can actually make a difference?
“Son,” the note read, “whatever you do, don’t ever marry a stripper.”
At every boat show I attend I keep my radar tuned for at least one piece of wisdom or advice or an observation that I didn’t have before the event. The big, sprawling Miami shows that ended Monday were no different, although I’ve come to realize that the bigger the show, the harder it is [...]
After several days of shoveling, blowing and plowing snow we are winging south out of storm-blasted New England to the Miami shows, where the preshow mood was cautiously optimistic, to use an overused phrase. Things are feeling better.
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing last Friday above 14,000 for the first time in more than five years, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the notion of the “wealth effect,” especially seeing how the Miami shows and the nine-day New England Boat Show start next week.
The industry was about to catch fire in the 1950s — the war was over, the economy was growing, Americans were enjoying expanded leisure time and more discretionary income, wood was bowing to fiberglass. By the ’60s it was zoom-zoom for pleasure boats as the expanding middle class solidly embraced boating.