As we put another year in our wake and study the horizon, conditions look favorable for making continued headway. Our annual forecast starts on Page 14 and contains prognostications for the year ahead from 25 industry leaders.
IBEX is shaping up to be one strong show. Sales figures, consumer confidence and other indicators leading into the three-day show Sept. 19-21 are all positive. Space has been sold out for some time. There will be more than 100 new exhibitors in Tampa, and the waiting list is 75 companies and counting.
Sportfishing interests from around the world will converge in Orlando, Fla., July 11-14 for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, widely known as ICAST. If your business has any connection to the hook, line and sinker set, this is the show to attend.
When the subject is the economy and business trends, I gravitate to numbers, percentages and the plethora of analysis over what they mean and where we’re likely headed.
I’ve been reading a lot recently about automation, creative destruction, artificial intelligence, globalization, reshoring, job loss and the like. So are you and me and my brother-in-law the boatwright going to be replaced before too long by robots? I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.
As we move into the heart of boat show season, much of the focus is on new boats and the latest technology and features that builders have packed on board. So it seems counterintuitive to suggest that builders and dealers not concentrate their marketing efforts on the latest and greatest improvements in propulsion, performance, layouts and the like.
Boats don’t like to sit for extended periods of time on the hard or in their slips. Things deteriorate faster during prolonged idleness — systems and parts stiffen, freeze, gum up and so on. Boats like to be underway.
Early this year, when the financial markets were plummeting and the “R” word was back in the headlines and in conversations, I spoke with a boatbuilder who referred to himself and his colleagues as “canaries in a coal mine.”