Letters from the Editor

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

ABC: Boating’s seat at the helm of government

Want to help move the dial? A good place to start is at the American Boating Congress May 8-9 in Washington, D.C. Come to the Capitol and make your voice heard. We’ve got a good story to tell about the economic impact of recreational boating and the jobs our industry creates. And there are a…more

Coastal property worth $17 trillion awaits next Sandy

On the 70th anniversary of the 1938 hurricane, catastrophe risk modeling firm Risk Management Solutions produced a comprehensive analysis and report of that seminal storm titled: “The 1938 Great New England Hurricane: Looking to the Past to Understand Today’s Risk.” The 2008 report is available online and is well worth reading. In the analysis, the…more

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