A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

BP = BAD PRESS

I recently wrote a marketing column in Trade Only about the need for marine businesses to have crisis communications strategies. I referenced the Tiger Woods debacle and compared it to David Letterman and discussed how a well-orchestrated, pre-emptive strike paid off for the king of late night, while Wood’s lingering failure to address his public [...]

Why South Korea? Why not South Korea?

When my editor offered me a chance to cover the Korea International Boat Show I jumped at the opportunity. It was a chance to experience a different culture, see first-hand how a country with a recreational marine industry in its infancy is growing its boating culture, and learn about a different part of the world.

Will our prospects buy . . . or bail?

My beliefs about the economy are complicated. We just came out of the Strictly Sail Pacific sailboat show — the largest all-sail show on the West Coast — and the feedback from exhibitors across the board was refreshingly positive!

New top cop for NOAA, same problems for fishermen

Dale Jones recently lost his job. The chief of NOAA’s Office for Law Enforcement was removed from his position and publicly berated in news articles, op-eds and blogs across the country. While it’s easy to declare his departure a victory for reform, I think we need to look harder at the real issue. Chief Jones [...]

Best practices in marina risk management

According to market research, the current economy has taken its toll on marinas. Now, in addition to the traditional risks they face, marinas must contend with crimes stemming from economic hardship.

Postcard from Lauderdale: the new norm

What a difference a year makes. Business is still way off, but the surprise and fear that permeated last year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show as the economy tumbled a bit further each day was mostly gone.

‘Fatally flawed’ science killing America’s No. 1 pastime

A 2004 report by the National Research Council (NRC) titled Improving the Use of the “Best Scientific Information Available” Standard in Fisheries Management called on the National Marine Fisheries Service to implement important guidelines for use of scientific information in preparing fishery management plans. The NRC report went on to state that “anecdotal” information like [...]

Professionalism pays off

Subpar service and a lack of professionalism have plagued the marine industry for years. Now, more than ever, folks on the service side of the business need to make improvements. The old ways — if they left the consumer frustrated or confused — have to change. These days, who can afford to lose even one [...]

Is your brand unsinkable?

The first half of the year has passed, and we already know 2009 will be remembered as one of the worst years ever for the modern marine industry. Furloughed employees, weak sales, delayed product launches and tight credit markets have already put their indelible mark on the first two quarters.

Are you just ‘adding to the noise’?

During a discussion on Web 2.0 at last week’s Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show, Richard Mundell, a former buyer with West Marine who now works with online course provider Udutu, said something that really stuck in my head.

When ‘the law is a ass’

Mr. Bumble, one of the characters in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” commented that, “If the law supposes that … the law is a ass — a idiot.” So it is with Section 312 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.)

Going once, going twice … sold!

In what we at the Recreational Fishing Alliance describe as a “pay to play” version of fisheries management, a Texas-based conservation group has recently gone on record with a radical new approach to managing the nation’s coastal fisheries, whereby access to the resource is offered to the highest bidder.

Responding to sales leads

I’m not in the market for a boat right now, but if I were, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Rob Lyons at Ocean House Marina in Charlestown, R.I.

Times are tough, but hope is alive

From the name to the format to the venue, the show formerly known as Strictly Sail Pacific has undergone some nips and tucks. Last week’s Strictly Sail Pacific & Powerboat Expo was two shows in one, officially, but the dominant theme was still sailing.

Are you being followed?

I’ve been actively using Twitter now for about five months, and it took me quite awhile to really “get it.” Compared to some of the most popular Twitter users, I’m still relatively green to the technology and am always learning new ways to be active and understand what all it has to offer in the [...]

Remembering Kaye Pearson

Kaye Pearson was a unique marine industry visionary who constantly strived to make the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show bigger, better and a global marketplace second to none.

The editor’s report: Maine Boatbuilders Show

A sure sign of spring in the Northeast is the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland, which ran from Friday, March 20, through Sunday the 22nd. I spent two days at the show, and during the prime-time hours it was flannel-to-flannel in the many of the aisles.

Our voices must be heard

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is still working on its lineup of speakers for the American Boating Congress in May, but at this early stage this much is known: The 2009 ABC will be an abbreviated one.

Web 2.0: Do you ‘Twitter’?

Staying connected to your customers requires more than just a Web presence these days. A basic Web site with some nice pictures doesn’t cut it in the age of video, blogs and social networking sites, like Facebook.

Interlux steps up in Miami

There are a lot of awards given out at the Miami International Boat Show. There’s the Innovation Awards, J.D. Power awards and various others recognizing boats, engines and accessories.

Marinas should plan for improvements even in tough times

During a tough economy, many marina owners are reluctant to tackle capital improvement projects. Even if an owner isn’t ready to renovate or expand, owners should consider initiating advanced planning, feasibility studies, and design so that a project will be ready to go when financial standings improve.

Recreational boating study doesn’t add up

Ten years after it was first authorized, the Great Lakes Recreational Boating Study has finally been released by the Army Corps of Engineers. Despite an expenditure of $403,400, which the Corps gave to the Great Lakes Commission to conduct the study, the study is more than eight years late, relies on faulty methodology, and contradicts [...]

An open letter to outboard manufacturers

It’s time for the outboard manufacturers to stop charging their dealers to sell their products. Times have changed, and with sales at a new industry low, my dealership, for one — I know I’m not alone — has had to adapt by cutting costs in every way possible.

Emphasizing affordability in the Big Apple

A new feature was launched this week at the New York National Boat Show: an “Affordability Pavilion” featuring eight boats from different builders, each of which can be financed for $250 or less a month.

Some thoughts from the dealer conference in Vegas

The economy was the biggest topic of conversation at this week’s Marine Dealer Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Many of those who attended talked about the decrease in sales they were seeing this year and the worries they had for the future.

Why the marine industry needs a credit union

Early this year a group of marine industry professionals got together to discuss their frustrations with, at that time, the traditional banking industry. Many key topics were discussed, from boat loans to floorplan financing.

Industry challenges make us stronger

During the past year, fuel prices have been extremely volatile and seemed to be at their peak in the midst of the boating season. For some boaters, this season was a time to scale back on their boating. For others, it was a time to modify their boating habits so they could still enjoy their [...]

The (boat) show must go on

Lately we’ve all been re-evaluating many aspects of this business, especially where we spend our money. Let’s face it: There isn’t as much coming in as there used to be, so we have to be a little more prudent about what flows out.

Gazing into the crystal ball

October will be a busy month for the marine industry, as business leaders gear up for two major events that traditionally serve as key indicators for the coming year.

Vacation at home on your boat

I was on a boat ride the other night and a couple told me about all the enjoyment they received with their boat and how their boat was the vacation spot for their family when the kids were younger. Weekends and summers were always spent on the boat.

Maintain a positive attitude

Three to four times a week someone from the news media calls our association office to ask the same questions: “Are boat sales off because of the economy?  Or, Is the price of fuel going to impact boating this summer?”

Gas prices are not a deterrent

As I travel to meetings in Florida and the warmer areas of the country, the comment I hear most often is about how many boats people are seeing out on the water.  There seems to be amazement in the industry that boaters are out on the water in force in spite of high gas prices.  [...]

FWC suggests life jackets as a holiday gift

Call me a sentimental fool, if you will, but I’ve been feeling the hurt of a lot of people in need this holiday season. I’ve even cried at some of the stories I’ve been listening to on the radio. So it’s not surprising that a press release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tugged [...]

A lone, unpleasant voice at IBEX

Having walked the floor at IBEX in Miami, I met many professional exhibitors who took the time to talk with me and explain the ins and outs of their products. I learned a lot and found many story ideas for Soundings Trade Only. I admired and appreciated everyone’s hard work, dedication and passion. I did [...]