Letters from the Editor

The boat isn’t the only thing you’re delivering

There was a lot of experience on the small stage in the IBEX seminar room, which meant that a lot of real-world advice was dispensed. Speakers Bing Fishman and Don MacKenzie are not, after all, pie-in-the-sky guys. They’ve been on the front lines of sales and customer service for their entire careers and have a…more

Serious, savvy buyers returning to docks as new boats arrive

About the same time that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was announcing an aggressive program to buy mortgage-backed securities to boost the economy, a middle-aged couple stepped aboard a new Cutwater powerboat and began a close inspection. It was the opening day of the Newport International Boat Show and I was on the boat talking…more

An efficient way to chart your boat’s health

Let’s face it. Boats are only going to get more complex and content-rich. More and more, they resemble our cars and our homes in terms of features, comforts and systems. All good, right? Well, yes and no. For an industry where poor service and reliability are sometimes cited as reasons newcomers leave the ranks, how…more

When economy collapsed, he ‘built the reputation’

In another lifetime, when Scott Hanson was in corporate advertising and communications, he did an analysis for a bank comparing the post-recession performance of companies that dramatically cut their marketing during downturns with those that didn’t. Not surprisingly, businesses that stayed in the market and continued to toot their horn did significantly better when things…more

Wanted: the next wave of hands-on industry techs

As the economy and the recovery eventually strengthen, the industry will need a broader pool of skilled workers to build and service the next generation of boats, which will only increase in sophistication. It’s also fair to say that like the aging demographic of the boat owner, the labor force in our industry is also…more

Data reveal that we’re not hooking enough boaters

It’s funny what you can find when you look closely at numbers. We all know the big numbers. For instance, after being essentially flat for more than a dozen years, boat registrations dipped in 2010 by 2.2 percent, or about 282,000 boats, the largest decline in 15 years. But participation the same year was up…more

West Marine finds solid footing under CEO Eisenberg

So what’s your most valuable asset? Cash? Your terrific product? Your strategic position in the market? I’ve got it — your skill as a leader? Think again. “It’s not the stores. It’s not our balance sheets or our inventory,” says West Marine CEO and president Geoff Eisenberg. “It’s our people. That’s the hardest thing to…more

Pods, joysticks doing their part to grow boating

Joystick systems controlling pods, straight shafts, sterndrives and even outboards have become more and more a part of the mainstream. Not only are these new technologies often more efficient from a propulsion standpoint, as is the case with pod drives, but they also are allowing people to move more easily into larger boats by reducing…more

Innovation, resolve have builder rising in the East

How does a small niche builder of high-end, performance cruising catamarans compete in today’s global market? How does it even survive, given the lousy economy of the last three years? The story of Gunboat is as much the story of its founder, Peter Johnstone, as it is a story of the large, fast custom sailing…more

Key to the future lies in welcoming unfamiliar faces

It’s not easy to look out 10 or more years and imagine what the boating landscape may look like and how to plan for the major changes, trends and permutations. In today’s topsy-turvy economic environment, it’s difficult enough to forecast 12 months  out with any surety. But it was the long view that the diverse…more

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