I was talking over coffee at the Maine Boatbuilders Show in Portland this weekend with a fledgling boatbuilding entrepreneur who has a design in his head for a better mousetrap. We were taking the long way around to his designs by first remembering the good old days. He spoke fondly of the skiffs of his […]
I was walking the docks last month at the Sea Isle Marina during the Miami International Boat Show, looking for interesting boats that might make a good story. It was the end of two long days, and I was moving at a measured pace, trying to really eyeball the boats rather than just rush past […]
Sailing has always left a disproportionately large footprint for the number of new units it cranks out a year. And to trying to measure the impact of sailing by that metric is too myopic — it misses the larger point, the greater value.
Just as the economy was getting up a nice little head of steam, fighting in North Africa and rising tension in the Middle East threaten to slow the forward motion. At the very least, the turmoil and resulting concern over the impact on oil production could create headwinds to recovery, a drag on growth, not […]
It’s been too easy, I think, during the long recession to forget about things such as why we got into this business to begin with. Or why we first fell in love with boating or fishing or sailing. We lose track of the importance of family time; the fishing trip you promised a son or […]
For a moment, I almost didn’t recognize the business leader. He looked — well, he looked different. More relaxed. Confident. Brow less furrowed. Like a weight had been lifted.
In response to the cries about the Asian carp threatening to invade the Great Lakes, Congress has asked the Chicago District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare a feasibility study to investigate the potential environmental, economic and social effects of the measures being considered that would implement a range of possible modifications […]
Last month Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was derided nationwide for registering his new boat in the tiny-and-thriving boat tax haven of Rhode Island. Many presume that the Senator’s intent was to avoid the significant sales and boat excise taxes that Massachusetts imposes on its registered boaters.
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 […]
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.
I am a real estate appraiser who specializes in marinas, and I have some basic advice for marina owners, fishermen, hotel owners and others damaged by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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!
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.)
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.
I recently received a magazine published by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors that is sent specifically to PADI dive shops for their dive shops’ eyes only. What a cool and hip magazine.
The 2009 American Boating Congress is over, but that doesn’t mean the mission is accomplished.
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.
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.
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 […]
Soundings Trade Only has joined the social networking wave with the creation of a new Facebook page.
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.
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.
To keep an open dialogue between Soundings Trade Only and our readers, this week we added a comments section to the bottom of our e-newsletter stories.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
Happy New Year everyone. Let’s make one wish for a cure to the biggest problem in front of us this year: credit, or actually the lack of it.
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.
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.
If your business is doing poorly now, you don’t need anyone to tell you that it is. But I thought you might be interested in something I’ve been picking up on our annual trip south.
When discussing the change in dates of the 2008 New York National Boat Show, there are several points of view. Many have asked me, “Why are you going?” The short answer is that I see a great opportunity (i.e. with less exhibiting, there is less competition).
With attendance down only 6 percent from last year’s record, the mood at the 2008 METS show was decidedly upbeat, despite the ominous clouds produced by global economic problems. Some exhibitors, however, did express concern about their economic future and how well their companies would weather what lies ahead.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
The days of the “order taker” are over. No longer can a retailer continue doing business the same way as in the past. Look for opportunities, experiment, try something new and monitor the results.
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.
For those who read our e-newsletter on a regular basis, you’re sure to have noticed a lot of stories lately about layoffs, plant closings and weak earnings reports.
The endlessly skyrocketing price of boating fuel has now become a relentless headache for the American boater. Accustomed to paying no more than two or three dollars per gallon for decades, boaters are now paying more than twice that amount for fuel. As a result, boaters are unable to decide how to adjust to this […]
I recently got a boat delivered to me. It was a custom order that I was very pleased to have earned. In the current marketplace it was for a custom Bass Boat, a market we are just breaking into with one of the high level manufacturers. It had been ordered in the “official” 2008 model year and; […]