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?”
Duh! We’ve known for a long time that the only news they are expecting is negative, the good news always seems to get lost in the wake. You need to answer them truthfully but you especially need to have the right message ready to pass on.
The important point is that boating is a great life style and boaters are a strong breed. They may shorten their trips, spend more time aboard tied up in their slips or floating in the marina pool or at best, using the closer fishing grounds, but boating they will enjoy.
That’s the right message, positive, enjoyable, family fun, no property taxes, and meeting new friends type of message. Sure, gas prices are up but how much more costly for that one-hour cruise? $15-20? Is freedom from shore worth that? Of course, that and all the other benefits boating and fishing afford.
When you are queried, keep a positive attitude. Over four decades in this great industry has taught me that the economy runs in cycles and you need a positive mindset to survive between the peaks. Diversify your operations and be realistic. If you need to make tough decisions, don’t wait too long to make them but above all put a positive front on your attitude and your outlook.
We don’t need to make the media portray our industry in a light that is more negative than warranted. Be positive, the latest predictions are for another 18 months before the turnaround. So, buckle down and reinvest in yourself and your business and make the best of a difficult time and be positive!
Grant W. Westerson
CT Marine Trades Association