A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Boating is not just for the rich

At the Miami International Boat Show earlier this month, NMMA president Thom Dammrich shared an interesting fact during his State of the Industry address. He noted that the majority of boat owners make less than $100,000 a year, so boating is not just for the rich.

Somehow that message needs to be better spread among the general public.

For the March issue of Trade Only I wrote a story about how to market luxury items in a lackluster economy. I purposely sought out marketing experts from outside the industry so I could gather some fresh ideas.

All the marketing professionals I spoke with shared some great tips. However, when they heard the words “boat” and “luxury” in the same sentence, most of them assumed I was talking about selling multi-million dollar yachts to the ultra-rich. I had to explain that to a middle class family, even a 20-foot runabout is considered a luxury item. And according to industry reports, it’s the manufacturers of the smaller boats who are really suffering now.

What can the industry do to shed this image once and for all that boating is only for the rich?


4 comments on “Boating is not just for the rich

  1. Richard W. Golding, CMM

    Thank you for creating this. I feel an honest discussion between the perceived idea of boating and the reality of what sacrifices people make for the love of being on or near the water are important to our industry, our sport, our recreation and our way of life. Boating is an enjoyment, a recreation, a social vehicle, a sport and a commitment. What a great part of life.

  2. John Wisse

    A key observation which I made during my visit to the Miami show was in seeing a small number of powerboats in the $12,000 to $20,000 range in addition to the more expensive models. Recreational boating offers diverse opportunities that appeal to a wide range of affordability levels. We see this at the largest boat shows, such as Miami, as well as smaller shows.

  3. Thom Dammrich

    Grow Boating/Discover Boating is making a major push promoting the affordability of boating this year. We have added a boating affordability tool on http://www.discoverboating.com. Go to http://www.discoverboating.com and check it out! Right at the top of the homepage is See How Affordable Boating Can Be! The tool compares the cost of boating for a family compared to other leisure activities including everything from a foursome for golf to a family vacation at Disney World. And, what is even better? If you are contributing to Grow Boating and want to include this Affordability Tool on YOUR website, you can. Just contact support@growboating.org!

  4. Sunshine State

    The attempt to “shed the image” relates to efforts to bring non boaters/entry level boaters on board.
    What are the statistics profiling existing boaters, retention or their exit from boating and their actual experience beyond “image”?

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