Once again the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation is making things easier for dealers and their customers, this time to renew boat registrations and obtain fishing licenses.
RBFF has introduced a widget that dealers can simply add to their website as a value-added convenience for their customers. This tool can be embedded directly on a website and it’s available free to dealers.
Specifically, what will appear on the website is a map. The customer simply clicks on his state (or from a drop-down menu) and he’s taken directly to that state agency’s site to purchase his license or boat registration. The widget also allows for easy toggling between the license and registration links. It’s all that easy.
Besides convenience, this provides an opportunity for dealers to encourage their customers to get their licenses because doing so means so much more than just adhering to a state’s requirements. For example, the fee paid for a fishing license goes directly to support state programs that enhance angling opportunities and promote fishery conservation.
I’m not sure most people really understand it. A person’s fishing license purchase is actually a contribution that directly supports the very sport he wants to enjoy. These funds are earmarked in the states to protect the aquatic natural resources. They sustain programs like fish stocking, habitat management, fish surveys and research, even boat-ramp management and more.
Since its inception 20 years ago, when RBFF was tasked with reversing a trend of waning boater and angler participation, it has successfully advanced boating and fishing throughout the nation. Its programs are designed to educate consumers, bring them to the water to try boating and fishing, and keep them active. In addition, RBFF works extensively with the boating industry and all 50 state fish and wildlife agencies to bring lapsed participants back into the fold.
RBFF’s initiative to increase fishing participation to 60 million American anglers in 60 months by 2021 – coined the “60 in 60” program -- is working. Participation in fishing has increased for two years in a row. Highlights include: Fishing participation rose 4 percent to 49.1 million total participants in 2017, and fishing license sales increased 1.3 percent last year.
Another important milestone is in the area of youth participation. Last year 11.6 million youth (ages 6-17) wet a line. That was up 5.4 percent from 11 million participants in 2016. And, more women are fishing as evidenced by a 3.1 percent increase to 17.1 million. And, for the important “first-timers” category, 3.0 million participants had their first fishing experience in 2017, up a handsome 21 percent from 2.5 million in 2016.
As boat dealers, we are keenly aware that fishing drives a big portion of annual sales. It’s cited as the number-one activity done from a boat in every pertinent study. Accordingly, any increase in fishing participation, at any level and any measure, can mean more boating customers now and in our future. And while RBFF is doing a great job, they’re not going to get it done alone. It’s imperative that the boating industry, and in this case dealers, step up to do their part in moving the needle. Taking advantage of free professionally created tools, like this widget, puts you in the game.
To get the free widget for your website, just go to: https://www.takemefishing.org/corporate/resource-center/content-you-can-use/