LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The state of the marine industry is looking up, with sales of boats and engines expected to be up 10 percent this year and another 10 percent in 2013, National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said this morning at the industry breakfast that marked the opening of the 22nd annual International BoatBuilders' Exhibition and Conference and included the annual Innovation Awards.
"There's a new spirit in the marketplace," Dammrich told about 200 people at the event in Louisville, Ky. "If you look at the data, there is a reason there's a new spirit — because things are turning up, slowly turning up, slowing improving and that creates a more positive spirit."
Click play to watch part of Dammrich's speech.
In 2011, sales of outboard engines and boats rose to $6.8 billion, he said. "People are still buying boats — and even through the recession people were still buying boats," he said. "People still have a very strong desire to get out on the water."
Boating participation has been up in five of the last six years, and 82 million adult Americans went boating in 2011, Dammrich said. He cited a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey that showed fishing participation was up 11 percent during the last five years.
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During the breakfast, current Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale presented the Hall of Fame Award to Phil Dyskow, immediate past president and senior adviser of the Yamaha Marine Group.
“Phil has been a passionate proponent for recreational boating during his 37 years in the industry, with an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction and sales growth,” said Jason Pajonk-Taylor, president of Taylor-Made Products and NMMA chairman. “He has made an indelible mark on the boating industry, and I’m honored to be announcing his induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame.”
Joe DiMaria, director of marine marketing and sales for Hubbell Marine, was recognized with the Mel Barr Award. The award was established in 1967 in memory of Barr, founder of the National Marine Representatives Association.
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The morning event also included a talk by Steve H. Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, whose speech was titled “How Demographic Trends in the U.S. Population Will Affect the Boating Industry."
The aging non-Hispanic white population will be replaced by a growing minority, including Hispanic, Asian and African Americans, Murdock said. Future customers will not look like the people attending the breakfast — they will be Hispanic, African American and Asian, he said. He told the audience that the industry should take these trends into account to have success in the future.
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The following are the list of the 2012 Innovation Award winners:
Boat Care & Maintenance: Dolphinite GelMatch Gelcoat Color Matching System
Electrical Systems: Indel Webasto Marine Isotherm Smart Energy Controller Kit
Engines: Volvo Penta of the Americas, V8-380 gasoline engine
Furnishings and Interior Parts: Syntec Industries CoolTouch Vinyl Technology
Mechanical Systems: Teleflex Marine Xtreme Mechanical System
OEM Electronics: Teleflex Marine Optimus EPS/360 Joystick Docking System
Propulsion Parts, Propellers: PowerTech Propellers and the PowerTech Safety Prop
— Chris Landry