A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Marine industry taken off guard?

The state of the economy today reminds me of a frog analogy I heard years ago. If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will immediately jump out. But if you put a frog in water that’s room temperature and then slowly heat it up, the frog will just sit there and boil to death.It’s the same with people and the economy.
When there’s a major shock – a terrorist attack, a drastic plunge in the stock market, or an oil embargo – people immediately kick into high gear to address the crisis. It’s not always easy to weather such storms, and not everyone comes out unscathed (remember the luxury tax), but people do take action.
The problem with this latest downturn is that it came upon us so slowly that it caught a lot of people, including the marine industry, off guard. Perhaps there were some early warning signs it was coming, but because it wasn’t a crisis there was no immediate need for action.
Now the downturn is upon us – some are saying the marine industry is suffering from the biggest slowdown in almost 20 years – and people are wondering how we got here. It’s like a drought that takes years to develop; by the time you realize there’s a crisis it’s almost too late to do anything about it.

- Melanie Winters
  Associate Editor

Comments

10 comments on “Marine industry taken off guard?

  1. Page Obnenshain

    If people in our industry were awake they would have seen this downturn on its way. For the past 3 years people have used boats less and less as indicated by lackluster fuel sales. Towing services have been slower, boat dealers have not sold as many boats but have not admited it. Boat yards have been slower. Cushion and canvass makers have been slow. On and on and on………….Who is paying attention? I like the frog thing, that is right on for some of us.

  2. Wiulson Wright

    Tell all of this to Sonny Perdue…His predicessors have been talking abount the fragile nature of Lake Lanier for years and now that it is about to run out of water it is too late to do anything except ask his neighbors in Florida and Alabama for compassion and forgiveness.

    Perhaps the same is hppening to the boating industry but I don’t see it, at least not on the high end or the classics.

  3. David Wollard

    Didn’t see it coming? More like, living in de-Nile (which we all know, ain’t just a river in Egypt).

    Everything in our world cycles (economy, weather patterns-etc.), so does the marine industry. The people out there who know, understand and plan there business accordingly can and will survive the cycles. These are the people that are dedicated to the industry. Those who prey upon this industry for fast bucks in up cycles, well you know…….

  4. CarlM

    David Wollard wrote “The people out there who know, understand and plan there business accordingly can and will survive the cycles. These are the people that are dedicated to the industry. Those who prey upon this industry for fast bucks in up cycles, well you know……. ”

    I’m thinking that the dedicated folks you describe are first and foremost should be dedicated to to their company, the customers they sell or sevice, & the business that they plan on enjoying in the future. One should be aware of the so called industry but if it goes away tommarrow then those folks(the planners) knew it and planned for it and have other poles with tasty baits in other ponds where the fishing is better.
    My question is: are the preyers ( can we call them opportunists?), the fast buck artists & the automotive guys you love to hate,- the same folks???
    Let’s Remember -These slower times bring oportunity to reflect, repair, retool, rethink, reinvest, in our businesses- if one has saved & put money away for the slower paced days that are now with us, one will prosper. i think David would agree.
    When presented with lemons………….. Yes, make lemonade “It tastes like money”

  5. David Wollard

    CarlM wrote:

    My question is: are the preyers ( can we call them opportunists?), the fast buck artists & the automotive guys you love to hate,- the same folks???

    You tell me Carl?

    For the record, I don’t hate anyone and please don’t quote me for what I haven’t said. My comments speak to conviction, knowledge, understanding and dedication or the lack thereof.

    Your points are well taken, but it seems my comments hit a nerve,

  6. CarlM

    David wollard wrote
    “Your points are well taken, but it seems my comments hit a nerve,”

    No nerves hit here David. I’m from as outside of “the Industry” as Tom Damrich

  7. David Wollard

    CarlM wrote: No nerves hit here David. I’m from as outside of “the Industry” as Tom Damrich

    Did you mean Thom Dammrich?

    Having lived through many Marine Industry cycles, the one thing that always seems to happen is that the Industry changes a little. Through the process of down cycles some companies go out of business, some re-invent themselves by way of new lean process, some create and bring to market new and innovative products. Hopefully we have experienced the brunt of a soft market already. For sure, one can witness all the things I’ve mentioned as happening right now. This is an exciting time to be apart of the industry, a time when almost every manufacturer has been challenged to build a better more innovative product. Some now use methods of manufacturing that are respectful to our overall enviroment. Cycles are painful, but unfortunately a fact of life. I just don’t understand one could feel “Taken off Guard” considering all of the steering factors and signs. Hopefully we are experiencing change for the better….

  8. Pingback: biggest slowdown in almost 20 years ? - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

  9. David Wollard

    Cruisers & Sailing Forums wrote: Perhaps there were some early warning signs it was coming, but because it wasn’t a crisis there was no immediate need for action……..

    Do you mean signs like the national real estate bubble burst almost two years ago? How about the credit crunch as a result of the mortgage crisis? Or, that the American consumer has been suffering from being a credit hang-over for about two years…….

    OK, here is a question: What aspect of the US marine industry has enjoyed growth in the current economy?

  10. Cryme Ariver

    I can tell you who’s going to make out well in this economy and that’s the companies who for the past 6 years have been waiting for the economy to buckle and for property prices to come back down to reality. Marina and Investment Groups wishing to expand are doing so now and will probably keep buying for the next 12 to 18 months.

    The other group I can think of that is doing well in this market are USED BOAT Brokers and Service Companies that specialize in refitting and repower.

    How about manufacturers who produce more fuel efficient engines or BIO-DIESELS or can show marina owners how to provide shore power with hydrodynamics or solar gens. All one has to do is look to the UK or European marina to see many ideas on how to survive and prosper in down economies – they have done so for decades (although now the shoe is on the other foot).

    We outsource our labor, tear down our factories, buy everything on credit and import our lives from China – anyone who hasn’t seen bad times coming has had their heads in the sand. Survivors are the “doers” who look for creative solutions and opportunities.

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