Let’s remember: We sell the best gift of all

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It’s Christmas time and gifts are on our mind. My wife, Kay, and I always laugh when we recall the great presents that, through the years, I’ve placed under the tree especially for her.

Let’s see . . . ah, yes, I remember a fishfinder one year and a pair of Penn Senator rods another. Oh, how about those matching deck chairs or that handheld spotlight or the colored dock lines and a Loran-C (whoa, that one goes back a few Christmases)? How could a wife not be excited every Christmas morning?

But while nautical gifts are fun, we know the real gift we give to each other is . . . boating. And we were recently reminded of that by the December issue of “The View From The Bridge” penned by Barb Hansen at Southwest Florida Yachts.

In it, Barb contends: “Boating is the best possible gift that families can give each other. Boating is made for families because it’s a true shared experience.”

We couldn’t agree more. Having raised three kids on boats and now sharing that enjoyment with three grandsons (our first granddaughter will be here in February), we know it’s a commitment to something that brings us together.

Our industry sells boats. But the real gift, of course, is not the boat. We’re selling what Barb calls a “magic carpet back into the last frontier.” It takes families into an environment where there are no lines on the road and they can go left or right or straight to many shared adventures.

I believe that we sell an escape. And today people need that more than ever. When our customers cast off from the dock, they leave the constant pressure of our 24/7 work life back on shore. There is an emotional change. It’s both uplifting and relaxing at the same time. It’s genuine. And that’s what we sell in the boat business.

Barb also says: “Everybody complains they don’t have enough time. Well, when you’re hooked on it, boating motivates you to make time for it.”

Right again. The truth is we all need to recreate. We all need to kick back. We all need to mentally refresh. We all love adventure. We all need to know closer relationships. Whoa . . . aren’t those “needs” precisely what we can meet each time we deliver a boat?

Finally, I’ll bet Kay can’t wait to see what’s under our tree Christmas morning. In the meantime, our very best wishes to everyone in our industry who is committed to make boating even better. And to all of you who regularly read Dealer Outlook, have a very Merry Christmas.

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