A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Introducing the boating lifestyle

It was a gorgeous weekend; not a cloud in the sky with temperatures reaching 80 degrees. What perfect days for boating.

What made that weekend even more special is the excitement that was generated at The Marine Industry Association of Central Florida’s first annual Discover Boating Demo Days on Saturday, March 29th and Sunday, March 30th. 
Thirty manufacturer’s boats from nine dealers participated in the fun with the hopes of introducing boating to potential boaters.  In these challenging times I believe that different approaches are needed to get new boaters into the sport and provide enjoyment to those with boats.

Boaters who had requested a Discover Boating DVD were invited by e-mail to attend and try the boat of their choice.  The number of people interested in finding out about the boating lifestyle was surprising, and the percentage of those taking demo rides came away with a positive attitude towards taking up boating as a lifestyle.  Although we were
selling “boating” not “boats”, I believe many of that group will purchase boats in the very near future. 

This event was designed to show how great it is to be out on the water and to provide information about boating for the whole family.  Discover Boating’s Keith Ammons did an exceptional job of helping those who had never boated gain greater insight into a new lifestyle.  Keith touched on boating basics, the cost of owning a boat and choosing the right power.  Many spent a considerable amount of time with him one-on-one,
getting a better understanding of the boating lifestyle. 

We also demonstrated for those on shore, a number of water sports including wake boarding, water skiing on two skis and a slalom ski, knee boarding and multiple person tubes towed behind a boat.  Dealers who were also demonstrating their boats sponsored all these activities.

Incorporated in this event was a Discover Boating family-fun poker run, giving many of those in central Florida an opportunity to have fun boating.   This added tremendous excitement to the event as trophies and door prizes were presented to the winners.  It also provided further incentive for the whole family (and friends) to become involved in
boating.  Next years event will include additional fun events to bring boaters for the weekend and have them share their experience with those interested in boating.

Not only will this event be held annually in Mt. Dora, Florida, but MIACF intends to run similar events throughout central Florida.  I’m really excited  because I believe this and other non-boatshow events can bring thousands of new people to boating.

How about sharing with us what you have been doing to promote the boating lifestyle.

David Ray
Executive Director


One comment on “Introducing the boating lifestyle

  1. Capt Russ Cohen


    Sounds like an awesome day! Good for you at the MIACF for thinking out of the box! This industry needs to start attracting new boaters more than ever and these events are a perfect way to do it. You need to absolutely gather specific sales data from the dealers who attended so you can verify the success of such an event.
    Just so you know, we here at Boatboy Marine Training have not only promoted “Hands-on” Education as a must for the boating industry, we’ve promoted Demo Days as a great way to introduce this great Lifestyle for years!! See the email from Steve tadd below from 2006:

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Steve Tadd
    To: Russ at Boatboy Marine Training
    Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2006 4:28 PM
    Subject: Idea

    Hey Russ,

    I received your message about the take a buddy boating concept… I think there is great merit to the idea. I have passed it along to our event marketing director and she’s working on building the concept into the National Fishing And Boating Week Plans…. Thanks for sharing the idea.

    Steve Tadd
    Grow Boating Director

    Boatboy Marine Training will offer it’s Captain’s Services in the NJ, DE, PA or MD area for any Discover Boating Demo days Free of charge as long as it’s about “Discovering the Boating Lifestyle”, and not about selling boats. Great job David, we wish you much success!

    Thank you, take care and as always, we’ll see Ya On The Water!

    Capt. Russ Cohen, Founder & President

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