For the Record: Boating deaths dipped to a record low in 2012

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The Coast Guard says boating fatalities last year totaled 651, the lowest number on record.

In its 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics, the agency says the 651 deaths represent a decline of 14.1 percent from the 758 fatalities recorded in 2011. There were 3,000 injuries last year, down 2.6 percent from 3,081 the previous year. The total number of reported recreational boating accidents dropped to 4,515, a decline of 1.6 percent from 4,588 in 2011.

The fatality rate of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels reflected a 12.9 percent decrease from 2011’s rate of 6.2 deaths. Property damage totaled about $38 million.

“We’re very pleased that casualties are lower and thank our partners for their hard work over the past year,” Capt. Paul Thomas, director of inspections and compliance at Coast Guard headquarters, said in a statement. “We will continue to stress the importance of life jacket wear, boating education courses and sober boating.”

Florida law repeals ethanol mandate

A Florida lawmaker’s effort to repeal a requirement that all gasoline sold in the state have some ethanol content has succeeded, with passage of a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott May 31.

“It’s one more mandate off the books,” state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, told the Northwest Florida Daily News. Gaetz had been trying to bring about the repeal since taking office in 2010.

Service stations can continue to sell gasoline containing ethanol if they wish, Gaetz said. Last year Gaetz neutered the 2008 law requiring ethanol use by getting legislation passed that said businesses could not be sanctioned for selling ethanol-free fuel.

State Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, sponsored the Senate version of the repeal bill.

“Big news,” Evers said. “It’s a great thing for all the residents of Florida.” He says the new law could lead to lower prices at the pump.

“Hopefully, it will allow jobbers and distributors to bring more unblended fuel in and make it more accessible for older cars, small engines and boats,” he said. “Hopefully, it will even lower the cost of unblended fuel.”

IBEX to rotate between Tampa and Louisville

The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference has announced a new rotating show schedule.

IBEX organizers say the 2014 and 2016 shows will be held in Tampa, Fla., alternating years with the 2013 and 2015 productions in Louisville, Ky.

The IBEX 2014 show will be held at the Tampa Convention Center, which is on the waterfront and within walking distance of many hotels, restaurants and attractions.

Because of the waterfront location and expanse of docks and slips, IBEX attendees will be able to experience live demonstrations of new products and technologies, show organizers say. Dock space will be available for all IBEX 2014 exhibitors, but space is limited.

Alternating between Louisville and Tampa offers “enormous benefits” to marine industry professionals, organizers said in a statement. Both cities are easily accessed travel hubs, and the rotation between a Southern location and a central location allows more professionals to attend, the statement said. A rotating schedule also creates more location-specific social and networking opportunities, which organizers are hoping will increase attendance.

Ads push boat buying from certified dealers

The Marine Five Star Dealer Certification program has announced a new marketing blitz that targets the boat-buying consumer.

Funded in part by a contribution from GE Capital, the effort by Marine Five Star Dealer Certification includes an online advertising campaign, public relations and communications, social media and a strategic tie-in with Discover Boating through the successful DiscoverBoating.com website. The marketing effort promotes and raises consumer awareness of the benefits of buying from Marine Five Star Certified Dealers.

“This integrated marketing effort allows [the program] to reach a wider audience of boat buyers to communicate the advantages of buying from a certified dealer,” certification director Terry Leitz said in a statement.

The online advertising campaign will feature banner ads placed on such sites as BoatTrader.com and a mix of top Bonnier media websites, including Boating, Saltwater Sportsman, Sport Fishing, Yachting and Cruising World. Online impressions are expected to reach 14 million for the six-month campaign, which runs through August.

Discover Boating will support the program as part of a tie-in with Discover Boating.com, featuring the program on its home page, as well as in its popular boat detail pages and its boat selector tool. In addition, the program will be featured in the Discover Boating e-newsletter that reaches boating consumers nationwide.

Growth is forecast in composites sales

The global marine composites industry is forecast to grow at a rate of 5.8 percent a year between 2013 and 2018, according to a study from Composite Insights, a firm based in India.

The study showed that in 2012 the growth in consumption of composite materials in the global marine industry was driven by North America and Asia.

Overall, the global marine industry continues to utilize a greater proportion of composite materials, the company said in a statement. Larger boats are forecast to use an increased amount of composite materials; however, smaller boats are expected to drive the demand for composite materials worldwide.

Asia and the rest of the world are expected to provide future growth opportunities for the global marine composites industry, although the boatbuilding industry is well behind North America and Europe.

Composite Insights, which has done a comprehensive market analysis of the global marine composites industry, presented its findings in “Global Marine Composites Industry 2013-2018: Trend and Forecast Analysis.”

The report — which includes market size estimates for glass fiber, advanced fiber, core materials and resins — highlights the composite material consumption trend and forecast by region, by boat type and by manufacturing process. It also provides a detailed assessment of the production of boats, including inboard boats, outboard boats, sterndrive boats, superyachts and others on a global and regional basis.

Actuant plans to sell its marine brands

Actuant Corp. CEO Bob Arzbaecher says the company expects to sell its electrical segment as a whole and will look at using the proceeds for future acquisitions and stock buybacks, but emphasized that there is “no huge deal around the corner.”

“[It] really comes down to portfolio management,” Arzbaecher said during a conference call June 3 to discuss the company’s decision to sell its electrical segment.

Actuant’s marine businesses include Marinco, which makes marine shore-power and electrical products; Mastervolt, which makes power products, including batteries, battery chargers, inverters, monitors, and digital switching and integrated systems; and BEP Marine Ltd., which specializes in marine electrical distribution products.

The decision to sell the group’s electrical segment was taken so the company could focus on “macro growth drivers” and came “after a great deal of thought, discussion and analysis.”

Asked by a JP Morgan Chase analyst why the sale was announced at such an early stage of the process, Arzbaecher said Actuant is a “pretty transparent organization for employees and other stakeholders. The segments operate pretty autonomously.”

Arzbaecher didn’t offer a price estimate for what the segment would bring, saying he’d rather let the market decide.

“This is a pretty healthy business from an electrical point of view,” he said. “We really do expect this will be an important asset for somebody.”

Vanquish Boats delivers dual console

Three years ago Morgan Huntley was launching Vanquish Boats in Rhode Island. He had yet to sell one of his semicustom runabouts and had zero dealers.

Today he counts four dealers while aggressively working to grow that network, and he has sold more than 20 boats. Huntley paid a visit to Trade Only Today on the in May on his way to deliver the first hull of Vanquish’s new 26-foot dual console to a customer in Long Island, N.Y.

“This is the first spring that I’m heading into with some dealers behind me,” Huntley says. “We try to pick dealers through good target markets — where our boats will do well.”

There are dealers carrying the Vanquish line in New England, the Great Lakes region and California.

Huntley purchased tooling from the former Vanguard Powerboats in 2010 and started Vanquish during the height of the recession. He credits the fact that he’s still standing to “low overhead and zero debt since its inception.”

Vanquish builds a 24-foot runabout, 24- and 26-foot center consoles and now the 26-foot dual console, all designed by Doug Zurn.

SeaStar Solutions buys plastics maker

SeaStar Solutions, formerly Teleflex Marine, has acquired Inca Molded Products, a Nashville, Tenn.-based manufacturer of rotationally molded plastic products.

SeaStar is a supplier of marine steering and control systems, engine parts and related products. Founded in 1979 by Jim Porter, Inca is a pioneer in the design and manufacture of rotationally molded plastic fuel tanks and other custom products for the marine industry.

SeaStar says Inca is the only manufacturer of roto-molded marine fuel tanks to use RotoLoPerm technology. Fuel tanks are fully compliant with the latest EPA Clean Air Act and Marine Fuel Tank Permeation regulations and are ready for immediate use, SeaStar says.

“Inca will remain in Nashville, where we will continue to serve customers with the same commitment that they expect from Inca and SeaStar Solutions,” SeaStar president and CEO Yvan Cote said in a statement.

Engine builder plans new facility in China

Wärtsilä Yuchai Engine Co. Ltd., the joint venture by Wärtsilä and Yuchai Marine Power Co. Ltd., began construction of its new production facilities with a groundbreaking ceremony May 28 in Zhuhai City in the Chinese province of Guangdong.

The agreement to establish the joint venture was signed in December 2012. The company will manufacture medium-speed marine engines to serve the Chinese shipbuilding industry. The products to be manufactured by the joint-venture company will include the Wärtsilä 20, Wärtsilä 26 and Wärtsilä 32 series of medium-speed engines. Production is planned to start in 2014.

“Today marks an important step toward our goal to serve our customers in the Chinese shipbuilding market in the best possible way,” said Wärtsilä president and CEO Björn Rosengren, in a statement. “The combination of Wärtsilä’s industry-leading technology and Yuchai’s position as the leading high-speed engine manufacturer in China will provide strong competence in manufacturing, sourcing and market access.”

Marvair opens office in Dubai

Marvair has opened a Dubai office to better serve its marine customers in the Middle East.

“Dubai is the center of business and the focus of the marine industry in the Middle East,” Marvair Marine managing director Trevor Goldsmith said in a May 29 statement. “Some of the world’s leading builders are located in the Emirates and to properly advise and assist them a full-time presence was required.”

The office in Dubai has the added benefit of being only seven hours from Europe and seven hours from the expanding Chinese market for the maker of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning products.

“Our facility is perfectly located at the entrance to Al Jadaf Shipyard, part of Drydocks World and Maritime World, one of the region’s leading service providers,” Goldsmith said in a statement.

Miami shows won’t face conflict with Super Bowl

As expected, Super Bowl L will be played in the San Francisco 49ers’ new $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium in 2016.

The National Football League’s 32 owners voted for San Francisco — actually Santa Clara, a San Francisco suburb — over Miami on May 21 during their spring meeting in Boston, then voted for Houston over Miami to host Super Bowl LI in 2017.

Boat show organizers can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now. The prospect of a Super Bowl in Miami had given organizers of both the Miami International Boat Show and the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach cause for concern because of a new NFL requirement that Super Bowl bidders be ready to host the game on any of three weekends in February, which would include the three-day Presidents Day weekend when the two boat shows traditionally are scheduled.

A survey of past Yacht & Brokerage Show exhibitors and visitors has shown that anticipated hassles with parking, crowds, pricey hotel rooms and other inconveniences would reduce their interest in attending the shows.

Miami lost whatever momentum it might have had to host either of the Super Bowls earlier this month when Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross failed to get the go-ahead from the Florida legislature to seek $120 million in public money to help finance a $350 million upgrade of the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had said the renovations would help Miami in its bid for Super Bowl L.

The upgrade would have added a partial roof to the 26-year-old facility, more seats near the field and high-definition video boards.

Schmitt & Ongaro adds warehouse in Europe

Schmitt & Ongaro Marine Products president Tim Schmitt said in May that the company has established a warehouse just outside Amsterdam.

The company said the venture enables it to efficiently ship products to European boatbuilders, distributors, dealers and chandleries. It results in smaller inventory commitments from customers and quicker turns. The facility is already stocked and sales can be made in euros or U.S. dollars.

Schmitt & Ongaro is represented in Europe by International Manufacturers Direct Sales and a growing network of distributors.

“This warehouse demonstrates our long-term commitment to Europe,” Schmitt said in a statement. “Tony Robertshaw and Rene Kemperman with IMDS are excellent at creating European relationships and sales, and now we can better support them.”

Organizers are happy with multisite R.I. show

The Rhode Island Boat Show, held May 4-5 in five venues throughout the state, drew 52 exhibitors and hundreds of boating enthusiasts to the waterfront. The show, which started as a homegrown industry effort, is maturing into an effective way to reach customers, organizers say.

“The set of goals we had for this year’s event worked together beautifully,” Rhode Island Marine Trades Association CEO Wendy Mackie said in a statement.

“This show is unique,” said show co-founder Ryan Miller of Latitude Yacht Brokerage. “It’s not inside a convention hall in the middle of winter. Your boats are not penned in to a dock space the way they are at big shows, so you can do things you can’t do at traditional shows. You can take your customer out for a test sail, let him turn on the engine and go for a demo ride, let their kids hang out on the docks or spend some one-on-one time.”

Yachts International adds digital magazine

Yachts International magazine has released Private Yacht Vacations 2013, an online selection of charter yachts available worldwide.

The online publication features available yachts broken down by locations, including the Caribbean and Bahamas, the Americas, Pacific and Mediterranean. It also includes an introduction to the charter lifestyle and gives those new to yacht charter some tips on getting started.

The highly visual, 122-page online magazine also features more than 50 pages of charter yachts, including categories such as “Specifications,” “Tenders and Toys” and “Dates,” as well as interior and exterior photos.

Yachts International is owned by Active Interest Media, which also owns Soundings Trade Only.

This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue.

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