We’re in the middle of National Safe Boating Week (May 21-27) and, sadly, many dealers ignore it or, at best, just throw up a safety poster somewhere in the showroom. It shouldn’t be that way.
Boating safety advocates across the U.S. and Canada have teamed up to promote safe and responsible boating. But if you think that’s just the role of groups like the local Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons, you’re shortsighted. Moreover, if you think boating safety is a subject you only address during safety week, you’re wrong again.
Safety is actually something good dealers or other boating organizations keep front and center all year. After all, customers who feel confident they can boat safely will boat more and are prime candidates for the next boat. Moreover, alert dealers also recognize that National Safe Boating Week provides a good handle to “touch” their customer base.
For example, MarineMax has reached out to all its customers with a message of support for National Safe Boating Week. Specifically, they have produced a series of seven short videos on safety topics ranging from life jackets to tying dock lines. Moreover, the simplicity of the videos (about 60 to 90 seconds), obviously easily shot with a single camera, are something every dealer could put together. And the fact that these videos are available to MarineMax customers year-round increases their value and reach.
Organizations, too, should be into National Safe Boating Week — and some are. No surprise BoatUS (via the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water) is using email and social media to promote the safety week with three tips. These include: (1) Selecting a life jacket you will actually wear, highlighting the benefits of inflatables; (2) Take a convenient and free online boating safety course; and (3) File an uncomplicated float plan that today is as easy as a text message saying where you’re going, who’s aboard and when you expect to return.
On a larger scale, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida just hosted a Safe Boating Day on Sunday at Bahia Mar Marina. The free event featured food trucks, music, raffle prizes, live safety demonstrations, speakers and more. The MIASF also used the event to highlight information about a new boating safety law that offers Florida boaters a discount on their state vessel registration if they buy an emergency locator device.
Aside from the music, food and prizes, the MIASF was joined by more than 20 other boating groups that provided a variety of demonstrations including boat inspections, proper life jacket use, life raft deployment, a Gumby suit, emergency signaling devices, knot tying, trailer safety, designated “driver” alternatives, electrical safety and many more.
MIASF executive director Phil Purcell aptly summed up National Safe Boating Week and the subject of boating safety this way: “The purpose of our Safe Boating Day was to educate the community and encourage a responsible dialogue. When it comes to this issue, we need to stay out in front of it so people can benefit from and enjoy our waterways safely.”
Bottom line: Promoting boating safety should be a year-round focus in dealerships. Moreover, in taking advantage of National Safe Boating Week in particular, dealers get a bonus time for special communications and the chance to contact and see customers.