Huizenga: All is not bad in marine industry

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It’s a tough marketplace out there right now, but it still offers some unique opportunities, said Wayne Huizenga Jr. in his keynote address at the International Marina and Boatyard Conference today in Fort Lauderdale.

“It’s not all bad, but you’re going to have to think differently,” said Huizenga, chairman of Rybovich, the Palm Beach, Fla., megayacht yard and marina.

Huizenga counseled attendees to keep an eye out for overleveraged and overcapitalized ventures. They can be had for a good price.

“It’s a great time to build if you’ve got the cash,” he said. Construction prices are at rock bottom now.

He said it’s a good time to invest in your employees and reacquaint yourself with your customers. “Times have changed; needs have changed,” he said.

Huizenga said it’s time to get together with legislators and work for streamlined permitting to encourage growth in these tough economic times.

Businesses need to seek out partnerships — public-private partnerships, closer relationships with subcontractors, development of international partnerships. “Partnerships are the way to go to survive these difficult economic times,” he said.

Huizenga also predicted that boaters will not be willing to invest large amounts of money in dockominiums for a while.

They also will be looking to boat differently. He thinks they will be downsizing to smaller boats, less power, and do more local cruising. They’re still going to go boating, but they’re going to be more frugal, Huizenga added.

“They’re going to stay closer to home, do more anchoring,” he said.

— Jim Flannery

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