Letters from the Editor

New year brings new opportunity for the nimble

At long last, light at the end of the tunnel. And no, wise guy, that’s not another train coming at us (at least I don’t think it is). We are making a slow, wide turn out of what has been a deep trough. And, as if we were turning a very large ship in a…more

‘Doubling down’ for a slow climb off the bottom

We’ve heard it over and over: Hope is not a strategy. But neither is hunkering down, at least not long- term. As we move into the third winter of our discontent, the relative health of the companies that make up our industry ranges from those still in survival mode to others that have risen off…more

Value and price reign supreme in this market

Like it or not, we are smack-dab in the age of thrift. Not a great time to be selling big-ticket items that require significant amounts of discretionary income, but you and I know that reality, chapter and verse. It has been an especially tough market for new boats. Retail credit markets are tight, most consumers…more


Gulf tough: a region on the rebound

The Gulf region is nothing if not resilient, tough as the shrimpers, roughnecks, charter boat skippers and others who for generations have made a livelihood on these waters. Since 2004, Ivan, Charley, Katrina, Rita and Ike have barreled ashore. Then came the recession. And this year saw oil spew for months through the runaway BP…more

The ‘new normal’ to Jim Bronstien: perpetual change

Two years ago, consultant Jim Bronstien showed a slide presentation at an IBEX seminar titled “Running the Organization (in strange times),” which coincided roughly with the start of the economic decline and its aftermath, soon to be dubbed the “new normal.” The industry veteran’s observations included the following: Consumers have less money. Demand for products…more

Keep your chin up and inch your way to the ‘other side’

We are in the midst of another “challenging” summer. With the start of the fall boat show season not far off, many of us are wondering how many folks will be showing up and will they be in a buying mood – finally? There is the sense that things are gradually improving – more slowly…more

Recovery’s easy when you’ve got a dream to sell

In this value-conscious, (barely) post-recession world we find ourselves navigating through, the old rules regarding consumer behavior and boat buying don’t necessarily apply. Some do. Some don’t. And others are being modified as we speak to fit the new normal. Lots of changes. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to promote the sport…more

The boat show’s role is evolving and sales await those who adapt

The old boat show model is undergoing a transformation. Given what we’ve just been through, that’s to be expected. And welcomed. It’s an old unbroken story: change, adapt, evolve – or shuffle off to the tar pits. In this immediate post-recession landscape, there certainly are fewer boat shows, and their footprints are smaller. Beyond that,…more

Green marketing shouldn’t have shades of gray

On a daily basis, all of us are bombarded by the claims eco-friendly, environmentally safe, biodegradable, CFC free, and on and on. If you’re skeptical, you’re not alone. One study showed that while more than 80 percent of consumers are willing to buy “green,” at least a third of them don’t know how to evaluate…more

Calls for simple, ‘sensible’ boats strike a chord

In my column last month on the industry at a crossroads, I advocated a new generation of “sensible” boats – simple, seaworthy, efficient and more affordable. Boats with value and utility, boats that will encourage people to get back out on the water. I heard from several readers, including an offshore powerboat racer and longtime…more

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