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Industry leaders gather to discuss boating issues - North America MarineBusinessWorld newsletter

by Peter Rendle 11 Dec 2019 08:00 PST
The BoatUS National Advisory Council along with invited guests and BoatUS staff © BoatUS

In this month's North American marine industry newsletter we hear from a panel of distinguished national boating leaders who serve as a sounding board for the nation's boater advocate, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), who gathered last week with BoatUS staff in Washington to discuss key issues affecting recreational boaters.

Topics on the day-long agenda included discussions of recreational boating issues including federal and state legislation such as the Sportfish Restoration Trust Fund, U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, Modern Fish Act, incompatible ethanol fuels, and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Additional topics reviewed were boating access and infrastructure; boating safety; fishing and environmental issues including invasive species, boat recycling and water quality; and trends in boat owner demographics, boat sales and paddle-craft issues. Regional boating issues specific to Florida, California, Texas, Maine and New York were also presented.

Another industry issue, is the question of recycling. Sail-World editor John Curnow spoke with North Sail's boss, Ken Read about this ongoing challenge. Read said, "We have had an Environmental Director for 18 months now, with the aim of eliminating single use plastic in our facilities. We are taking the plastic out of our packaging, and our clothing brand uses recycled materials and in the next 12-18 months the entire range will be from repurposed material.... Inside the next 12 months, every sail bag, and we make 30k a year, and every sail tie will be made from [plastic bottles]." Read about what they are planning for the sails.

At this time of the year the focus is on promotions taking place at the numerous boat show venues across the states. The shows present the opportunity to launch new products and at the same time present awards for product innovation. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) announced today the panel of judges set to evaluate product entries for the third annual Progressive® Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show® Innovation Awards. 2020 winners will be announced Wednesday, January 22 during the boat show's "Sneak Peek" evening. The deadline for entry into the 2020 Innovation Awards is Friday, December 20.

While in Miami it's time to enter your new product for the 2020 Progressive® Insurance Miami International Boat Show® Innovation Awards, the industry's most prestigious honors recognizing manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to market. The deadline for entry is January 10, 2020. See full program details and requirements.

Earlier this month, the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) presented Jim Wolf, president and CEO of Avalon and Tahoe Manufacturing Inc. with the 2019 John G. Thodis Large Tier Michigan Manufacturer of the Year award. The award was presented at MMA's annual MFG Excellence Awards on November 7, 2019, in Lansing, Michigan.

It's always a good move to invite members of the government to industry locations and just before Thanksgiving, Florida State Representative David Smith (District 28) visited Correct Craft's headquarters in Orlando, providing him with the opportunity to learn about the manufacturer's business and the boating industry's broader economic impact. NMMA members have hosted more than 30 elected officials at their facilities in 2019, which are invaluable advocacy engagements that the association strongly encourages.

More positive news from the NMMA announcing its September New Powerboat Registrations Report that show new powerboat retail sales down 0.9 percent on a rolling 12-month year-over-year (R12M YOY) basis and up a healthy 5 percent on a rolling three-month year-over-year (R3M YOY) basis through September. Total new units sold in 2019 (through September) reached 251,000. "With optimal summer weather arriving later in the season for most of the US, we saw an encouraging pickup in new powerboat sales in July, August and September. This pickup offset some of the lag in certain segments the first half of 2019, putting us back on par with where retail unit sales were this time a year ago," said Vicky Yu, Director of Business Intelligence for NMMA. "Sales of new personal watercraft, wake sport boats and larger saltwater fishing boats continue to lead growth while sales of new freshwater fishing boats remain down from year-ago highs."

And sailmaker Ullman Sails is celebrating yet another successful year in the sailing industry. After the 2018 acquisition of its largest sail loft in Cape Town, this was another year of growth for the international brand. With over 75 locations in 25 countries around the world, 2019 saw Ullman Sails welcome seven new affiliates, expanding its reach deeper into Australia, Asia, North America and Europe. This has resulted in a 21.5% increase in turnover, with a resultant significant improvement of operating profit caused by massive operational efficiencies. This has allowed the manufacturing facility to regulate production by investing heavily in professional production processes, product placement and development.

A reminder that boats are frequently targeted by thieves. GOST® (Global Ocean Security Technologies), a world leader in marine security, tracking, monitoring and video surveillance systems, announced today that its GOST NT-Evolution 2.0 security system was instrumental in thwarting an attempted electronics theft in Lighthouse Point, Florida. This is the third attempted electronics theft on this specific vessel. Seven other boats in the same neighborhood had thousands of dollars in stolen equipment, but the GOST security and tracking system on this boat stopped the thieves. Just before 6:00 a.m. on November 16th, the GOST NT-Evolution 2.0's sensors installed on the 39-foot Invincible tripped, triggering the system's siren and strobe; alerting neighbors of the attempted intrusion. In addition, the owner of the boat was notified via automated call, text and email. Security cameras on the dock captured the thieves at work and neighbors eventually found multi-function displays (MFDs) in the bushes that the thieves had ditched when the alarm went off.

Marine Business News North America is an unaffiliated digital media site designed to update the North America marine industry with news of events, new products, industry personnel, awards and industry developments. Feel free to send your news to peter.rendle@marinebusinessworld.com

Our monthly newsletter is free and the sign-up details are at www.marinebusinessworld.com/NorthAmerica/newsletter

Peter Rendle
MarineBusinessWorld.com

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