Maryland marine industry struggles to recover

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Marine sales are up nationally, but dealers and vendors in Maryland have seen an 11.6 percent drop in expenditures on powerboats and accessories.

The doldrums that becalmed the national powerboat and sailboat industry four years ago did not spare Annapolis — or the two boat shows that have tied up in the harbor every October since the 1970s.

“The challenges have been severe,” Paul Jacobs, general manager of the United States Sailboat Show (set to run Oct. 4-8) and the United States Powerboat Show (Oct. 11-14), told the Baltimore Sun.

But Jacobs was optimistic about the coming years.

“We’ve been just talking the talk for the last few years, but we’re ready to walk the walk. The industry is coming back,” he said. “People are responding.”

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3 comments on “Maryland marine industry struggles to recover

  1. dave

    Hard for this not to occur, with all the boater “unfriendly” things the state has done in the past few years, and continues to do….lopsided taxes, non-discharge, etc

    Even those of us who live in VA are not immune to their stupidity as they “own” the water up to our shores.

    In previous years, we virginians would cross the Potomac several times a year to visit, buy fuel, get service work done and SPEND money. No longer will that happen by me, and the others I have spoken with in my travels feel the same way.

    Better to spend our money in a state that appreciates our business.

  2. David Rueckert

    Part of the problem is the regulatory atmosphere in MD. Building a dock or installing a boat lift in MD is a permitting nightmare. That certainly has some impact on boat sales. Maybe less government intrusion would improve things. Election day is near.

  3. david

    The Greenspan-Bush era economic plan of free or low cost virtually unregulated capital coupled with the misguided military spending in questionable wars has caused devastation thoughout the world’s financial systems from the headliner industries to the bedrock of mom and pop businesses worldwide.

    The marine industry has been severely impacted in every segment with capable industry veterans falling alongside enthusiastic newcomers. The wreckage did not spare Europe as we were originally told, with approximately the same percentages of failures to date and the prospect of many more before the economic ship is righted.

    But there are bright spots among the wreckage and comparatively America has begun a slow recovery while much of the world continues in decline. Much of our future as an industry is in our hands. Annapolis offers us an opportunity to shake off the doldrums and project a positive image. Contagious enthusiasm amongst ourselves can spread to the boating public.

    The brokerage market has stabilized for those who have properly valued their offerings and kept good work habits.

    New boat inventories are near historical lows with the gap between new boats pricing and late model prime used boat pricing reflecting historically small spreads providing opportunity for a substantial uptick in orders with commensurate brokerage activity. There is pent up demand for new boats that we as industry professionals can help promote and satisfy.

    New and used boats are selling for those who practice good work habits, offer good service with proper presentation and continue to enthusiastically represent their offerings .

    Marlow Hunter sailing yachts has built and shipped over twenty newly built sailing vessels in less than 60 days since emerging from reorganization and the Marlow Explorer Yachts lineup reflects the most active new boat order period in over three years. Marlow Hunter will be in Annapolis Sailing Show with an exciting and all new 40′ sailing yacht to kick off the 40th year of operations. Investments are being made to encourage buyers hungry for new models and innovative products and provide dealers with new models.

    We must all put on our best faces, show our products in their best light and offer our prospects the best we have in us as industry professionals. It is not an easy job but as survivors of the worst business conditions in my memory we can show the way.

    Imagination is the greatest nation on earth and I for one imagine that American business can lead the return to sound business practices and quality products sold by business people of integrity.

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