MDCE 2012: Discover Boating joins with marina initiative

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Welcome to the Water is coming to National Marina Day.

Discover Boating is joining the initiative, launched years ago by the Association of Marina Industries, that had primarily been a celebration of marinas, Discover Boating vice president of marketing Carl Blackwell said at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which wraps up today in Orlando, Fla.

“Last year we started to work with them on teaming up Welcome to the Water with them to get a little more buzz and make it a little more consumer-focused,” Blackwell said. “The marina industry has embraced this, and they’re the gateway to the water for us in many cases.”

The next National Marina Day will be June 8, 2013.

“I think we’ve all talked about this at one point, but now we want to start to create some news, celebrating life on the water,” Blackwell said.

The groups hope that each marina will offer something a little bit different, Blackwell said.

“Some marinas may offer boat rides, others might offer hands-on training and others could do trailering seminars,” he said. “We’re working with many stakeholders to encourage participation.”

Discover Boating is also making an effort to get more reporters from the national media out on the water, Blackwell said at a Volvo Penta-sponsored lunch on Tuesday.

Some might have had “a little more harrowing” experience than they bargained for when they took rides at the America’s Cup World Series race in San Francisco last summer, Blackwell told the room of roughly 500 attendees.

The group is also reaching out to more celebrities for endorsements in commercials, as well as “mommy bloggers,” asking them to write about an experience on the water.

“More often than not they talk about remembering boating when they were kids and wanting their kids to get that experience, too,” Blackwell said.

“We’ve got to get people on that boat to get them in a boat,” Blackwell said.

— Reagan Haynes

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