Skip to main content

A Shot in the Arm for South Carolina

Today, more than 30 representatives of South Carolina-based boating and fishing businesses are gathering in the state capitol at Columbia to introduce the newly formed South Carolina Boating and Fishing Alliance with Gov. Henry McMaster headlining the list of speakers.

“Our state is rich in boating and fishing opportunities,” says McMaster, “and the birth of SCBFA with a mission to protect and grow these great outdoor activities will surely have an important, positive impact on our future. We welcome SCBFA.”

More than 30 South Carolina-based boating- and fishing-related companies comprise the SCBFA. Founding members include boatbuilders, fishing gear manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, marinas and tackle retailers.

Alan Lang, director of sales and marketing for Scout Boats and an SCBFA board member, puts it this way: “As a South Carolina boat manufacturer, we’re very excited about the opportunity to have our voices heard by lawmakers and regulators to help ensure our future success in creating jobs and building boats that can be enjoyed on the many waterways we’ve been blessed with here in South Carolina. This is an exciting day for our industry.”

It may be a little-known fact, but South Carolina is home to more than 30 iconic brands of boats and fishing tackle that represent 3.1 percent of the state’s GDP. Fishing licenses alone contribute $6.7 million to the state’s economy. And it ranks seventh in the nation per capita in registered boats, topping the half-million mark. (One in 10 residents has a registered boat.)

“By any measure, time on the water — fresh and salt — is the top recreational activity in our state,” says Chris Butler, SCBFA chairman and owner of Butler Marine. He also serves on the Center for Sportfishing Policy Board. “This organization will focus on connecting the outdoors lifestyle with economic growth policies while being a positive influence for the protection and advancement of the industry through advocacy, education and stewardship. It just makes sense to give our industry and consumers a unified voice.”

The new organization has four goals:

1. protect and expand the boating and fishing industries

2. connect the outdoors lifestyle to governmental, economic development policies

3. promote workforce readiness

4. advance environmental stewardship

Wasting no time taking action, SCBFA is already tackling workforce issues. Noting that while many industries have suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, South Carolina’s boating and fishing manufacturers are growing and are actively seeking qualified workers. The SCBFA has already formed a Workforce Development Committee, led by Lisa Waller of Falcon Boats.

“Most South Carolina high school and college outdoors enthusiasts don’t know about the professional opportunities that this industry offers,” Waller says. “We want students in South Carolina to know there are opportunities to work and thrive in our industry, and we want to make opportunities for industry-specific training and education available and recognized by our state.”

In addition to McMaster, speakers at today’s kick-off include Sen. Thomas Alexander, chairman of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee; and Rep. Brian White, president of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses. In addition, Bassmaster anchor and fishing hall of famer Davy Hite will address the meeting, while Robert Boyles, director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, will lead attendance by numerous members of the Sportsmen’s Caucus.

“We are home to major brands known worldwide in boating and fishing,” says Gettys Brannon, CEO of the SCBFA. “South Carolina has the most unique economic mix of boating and fishing-related businesses in the United States. We want to have a recognized voice in policymaking not only for our members companies, but the millions of South Carolinians who spend time on the water.”

Brannon’s passion for boating and fishing is obvious. He touts the economic impact on South Carolina as big and growing. For example, boating and fishing represent a combined $5.1 billion in annual economic impact to South Carolina and support 23,000 jobs. Brannon is a former college fishing national champion and a two-time College Fishing All-American and FLW Cup Qualifier. In addition, his experience in the outdoors industry includes a four-year stint in various media and advisory roles for B.A.S.S.

The SCBFA founding committee includes:

• Chairman: Chris Butler, Butler’s Marine

• Vice Chair: Patrick Stamps, Local Boy Outfitters;

• Ken Eubanks, Lew’s/Strike King

• Hampton Anderson, Sea Hunt Boats

• John O’Keefe, Yamaha

• Lisa Waller, Falcon Boats

• Kelsey Dick, Shimano NA

• Alan Lang, Scout Boats

• David Winters, Rusty Hook Tackle Shop

• Caroline Dillon, Pure Fishing

• Roger Metz, Woods & Waters SC Radio

• Neil Paul, Visit Anderson

• Advisory Member: Ross Self, SCDNR



Volvo Penta Reports Q4, FY22 Results

Net sales of $470 million for the quarter were a 33% increase compared to the prior year period.


DEALERS: Are You Improving the Service Experience?

Our monthly Pulse Report survey asks this and other questions about your dealership. Take the survey here.


NMRA Sets Scholarship Deadline

Students pursuing education in the marine trades can apply for the National Marine Representatives Association awards until April 1.


Marine Products Reports Record Q4

The builder of Chaparral and Robalo boats reported net sales were up 42% for the quarter and 28% for fiscal year 2022.


Shurhold Appoints COO

Forrest Ferrari has years of management, business development, IT and quality-assurance experience.


RBFF, Pure Fishing Partner for a First Catch Center

Pure Fishing will equip a mobile trailer with tackle and gear to bring fishing experiences to areas of South Carolina where participation is low.


An Oft-Overlooked Sales Opportunity

A recent report from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation showed that women comprise 37% of all anglers. If you haven’t tapped this segment, you’re missing out.

1. 2023 new boat retail outlook

Too Many High-Priced Boats

To wrap up 2022, marine retailers reported lower demand, expressed more negative sentiment and voiced concerns about rising inventory. Boat prices and the economy remained top of mind for dealers in December.

Soundings Nov 2022

New-Boat Registrations Continue to Slide

As the gaudy sales figures from the pandemic continue to return to more realistic numbers, the main segments of the recreational boating industry saw new-model registrations of 4,421 in November, a 30.3% drop from 6,340 during the same time in 2021. .