The waters in the waning weeks of summer were brimming with boats. Warm, dry weather in the Northeast and elsewhere brought out boaters by the score. The fact that Labor Day weekend gasoline prices were as low as they’ve been in 11 years didn’t hurt, either.
Letters from the Editor
The conversation took place maybe a dozen or more years ago at a Trade Only roundtable meeting at the Miami boat show. We were having a discussion with industry leaders on a wide range of issues, including the ascendancy of the baby-boom generation.
We casually toss around words like innovation, quality and adaptability today as if they were so much small change. But how many companies are really doing the hard work of innovation?
The question has been on the table for some time: What happens when the members of the large generation of baby-boom boaters swallow their collective anchors and exit stage left?
I was having dinner recently with an industry veteran when he shifted the trajectory of our conversation and said, “You know, Bill, you and I are stuck in this industry. We’re lifers. We’re not going anywhere.”
I visited the boatyard recently to pay my slip bill for the season, to catch up with old friends and to see what happened since winter. Tom’s 40-foot Cabo has a new teak swim platform and washboards. I eyeballed the yard’s new hydraulic trailer, which was moving boats from the off-site indoor winter storage shed…more
Facing a shortage of qualified workers is not new for our industry. It’s been an on-again, off-again challenge for the last three decades. But as new-boat production continues to ramp up from recession lows, the work-force situation is tight and appears to be getting tighter.
If the wealth effect was not in full throat in Miami, it certainly was on the rise and spreading, from the Yacht & Brokerage Show along moneyed Collins Avenue to the NMMA venues at the Miami Beach Convention Center and on across the Venetian Causeway. Sure signs were everywhere.
I’ll be very surprised if I don’t see more boats on the water this season than at any time since the recession.
It’s been a long and winding road, but Americans are continuing to make their way back to the water in ever-increasing numbers. You hear their confident tones in conversations on the docks, at boat shows and marinas, on the sandbars and in the watering holes. More and more, they’re talking about their “next” boat or…more