Letters from the Editor

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

Will the ‘lookers’ of 2011 become buyers in 2012?

I wouldn’t have guessed that more than three years after the global economy was swamped that we’d still be slogging our way through such persistent headwinds. But here we are, with 2012 at our doorstep, and although things have improved we still face the challenge of getting people to part with their discretionary dollars during…more

Boat shows: They’re where the buyers are

There’s a cliché that’s grown up around the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton that just might serve as a metaphor for boat shows. Asked why he robbed banks, Sutton reportedly replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” It’s the same with shows. Why participate in a boat show? That’s where the buyers are. I used…more

Mining technology to discover magic

“The first duty of a boat is to be beautiful.” Those are words that can change a company and influence, perhaps, an industry. It was that belief and conviction, held by Shep McKenney, that led to the creation of the successful Hinckley Picnic Boat in 1994, when McKenney was an owner of the then-struggling yacht…more

Staying afloat requires rallying the boating base

Hard to believe it’s been more than three years since Lehman Brothers collapsed and the gravity that held the global economies in their orbits weakened to the point at which everything went haywire. Fear and uncertainty reigned. And today? Uncertainty is still the word, even if we’ve all become a good bit more stress-hardy since…more

How IBEX helps industry keep up with the Jonesys

This is the tale of two mechanics, one in Cape May, N.J., and the other in Rockland, Maine. And it’s the story of two industries. One is the marine world we strive to build and foster every day. Competent, professional, customer-focused, forward-looking. The other falls short of that vision and leaves customers shaking their heads…more

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

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