Letters from the Editor

Quality must match our customers’ expectations

I’ve always held a “glass is half full” attitude when it comes to our industry, in large part because of the resilience of small, smart business operators and the enduring attraction we have to the water.

Here’s my 2 cents on the next 12 months

It feels at long last as if we’ve turned a corner, as if we’re on a train that has left the station and is not going to come off the tracks or be towed back to the maintenance yard for lengthy repairs.

FLIBS proved it’s time to start dreaming again

I met a guy on the bus running between venues at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show who wants to become part of the industry. Tim Wilhelm, 47, is a Florida boat nut with a good job that pays the bills, but the day job doesn’t speak to his passion.

Over the shoulder, American builders can see China

Consider this the first of several “meditations” on boatbuilding, the U.S. consumer, China and trends both domestic and global. Post-recession, the U.S. boatbuilding industry remains a unique mix of mostly small businesses — from tiny one- to three-person shops turning out a handful of boats a year to larger operations employing hundreds and producing hundreds…more

Down East yachts: a modern blend of tradition, innovation

It’s called the blue-boat fleet, although they are better known as Down Easters, that growing segment of traditionally styled yachts with working New England lobster boat roots and, of course, flag-blue hulls. These yachts are quintessentially homegrown — made in the U.S.A., although numerous interpretations of the distinctive express style have appeared on boats from…more

IBEX, the Hispanic population boom and our industry

For the longest time, the face of modern pleasure boating pretty much mirrored the face of America. It was predominantly Caucasian, middle and upper-middle class, white- and blue-collar, and the wealthy. That’s still the predominant picture, but a shift is starting to occur within both the industry’s core market and the overall demographic makeup of…more

A simple service model: Do what you say you’re going to do

When ABYC president John Adey was asked to give the commencement address at The Landing School in Arundel, Maine, this spring, he drew on his background as a boater and his background working in the industry, which includes sweeping floors at a small brokerage while in college, working in a small marina and eventually running…more

Seven upside predictions from beneath my boat

I recently spent a long day working on my boat — doing a bit of everything but mostly the jobs no one likes to do. Bottom work on a humid day in a Tyvek suit, hood and face mask, scraping off loose bottom paint while my glasses fogged and paint flecks found their way into…more

Pro gamblers and executives — the return of the middle

Since the recession there has been a sizable hole in the market between the very high end and the low end. Is the middle finally coming back? Sun Trust Bank senior vice president Donald Parkhurst says that after a long drought it appears that the important middle-market buyer is finally re-emerging. The veteran lender categorizes…more

Builders who walk the walk know their boats best

Samuel Zemurray was known as “Sam the Banana Man,” and one of the business tenets of this Russian immigrant who would become a mogul in that tropical fruit trade was: “Go see for yourself.” In other words, nothing beats boots on the ground and assessing a situation with your own two eyes, which in Zemurray’s…more

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