Letters from the Editor

Nuggets of hope amid uncertainty of this economy

Soft patch — or something else? With European debt concerns moving back and forth between a simmer and near boil, and unemployment rising to 9.2 percent, with consumer confidence headed in the other direction, I had a feeling of déjà vu earlier this summer. Even the rise and fall of fuel prices this spring were…more

A ‘welcome’ way to spread the magic of boating

Even in tough times, smart companies, forward-looking organizations and strong leaders find ways to innovate, expand their brand’s footprint and grow market share. It could be the three-man shop hidden among the pines, a third-generation dealership or a nimble behemoth such as Brunswick. Hunkering down, at best, was a short-term strategy. You had to keep…more

Technology is a new driver in our industry

The middle-aged angler fired up his chart plotter and pointed the big diesel center console south, leading his fellow fishermen from that big tribe known as the baby boomers down a string of waypoints to sailfish country. Within half an hour, a sailfish was hooked, fought and released, a tribute to the skill and experience…more

The fixed-price, concierge-level service concept

Servicing, maintaining and storing a gaggle of boats year after year helps keep the wolf away from the door, especially when sales or new builds are slow. Think of it as an annuity of sorts.   I had several conversations at the Maine Boatbuilders Show about the continued importance of service, but with something of…more

Fuel and fear — still a long way from ‘freak-out’

It had been a nice run of, what, two-and-a-half years since a phrase like “spiking fuel costs” raised its ugly head. During the interim, of course, we bailed like mad as we rode out the Great Recession. Now, with the recovery just gaining traction, turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East has sent fuel…more

Top 10 reasons boat sales will rise in 2011

With continued signs of healing in the general economy, there is growing confidence that we are moving out of the long, deep trough that has been home for the last two years. It’s enough to make me believe I can write with some measure of confidence that this year will be better than the last…more

‘Wealth effect’ is back in play; are sales next?

A question that’s been on my mind: So just what was at the root of that uptick in enthusiasm we saw at the fall shows? And will it carry over into Miami and beyond? Perhaps it was recession fatigue, the idea that if you’ve made it this far and your job feels secure and you’d…more

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

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