I usually pass up reading articles that are mostly numbers … except if they’re numbers that show that our industry is climbing out of the deepest hole in our history. And that’s exactly what numbers from the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, Discover Boating and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas are showing.
The MIASF presented its latest study of the economic impact of the recreational boating industry in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties, as well as look at the state of Florida. Key findings in the study, conducted for the MIASF by Thomas J. Murray & Associates, confirm that during the last four years the marine industry has enjoyed a consistent turnaround.
More specifically, combined sales in the three (Broward-Dade-Palm Beach) county areas have increased about 36.3 percent. For Florida overall, gross marine sales grew by 31.3 percent. In dollars, Broward accounted for $1.5 billion, Dade $332 million and Palm Beach $586 million. The combined $2.8 billion represents 51 percent of Florida’s total $4.7 billion in marine sales.
The MIASF study includes trends in boat ownership and use, estimated retail sales, employment and industry output associated with the retail sale of new and used boats and supplies, as well as outboard motors by Florida's marine industry. Download the full report from the Marine Industries Association of South Florida here.
More kudos to the MIASF for also conducting the first-ever job fair in conjunction with the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. Held to highlight career opportunities in boating, nearly 400 job openings were featured ranging from more than 100 positions for crew and nearly 280 jobs in area marine services, trade and administration, according to MIASF board member Colleen Deverteuil. Yacht service companies, builders and educational facilities were among the participants.
More big numbers keep coming out of the industry’s Discover Boating campaign. For example, for the 12 months ending Sept. 30, the campaign generated 1.2 billion media impressions — a 42 percent increase over 2013. More impressions lead to more awareness as indicated by the 3.4 million viewers on the Discover Boating website, a 38 percent jump over 2013.
Added proof that Discover Boating is reaching an ever-increasing audience is found in the 1.8 million people referred directly to manufacturer websites in 2014. That’s a whopping 83 percent increase over 2013. Leads from that should be filtering down to dealers. It’s another clear indication that this campaign is doing what it’s supposed to — attract prospective new boaters. In essence, then, Discover Boating is stimulating growth in the overall market, something manufacturers or dealers simply don’t have the means to do on their own.
And speaking of dealers and numbers, check out these record breakers for next week’s Marine Dealer Conference & Expo in Orlando. Dealers now registered 548; Total registration 1,031; A comprehensive slate of 31 all-new educational sessions featuring 24 speakers on four different tracks; seven pre-conference workshops; up to 264 hours of MICD continuing education credits; two keynote speakers; exhibits covering 41,550 net square feet; 99 exhibiting companies; 30 boatbuilders on display; and 18 hours of dedicated networking time.
It is the industry’s only annual convention of marine dealers from across the country and is produced by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Boating Industry magazine. It’s slated for Nov. 16-19 at the Orlando (Fla) Convention Center.
It’s not too late to attend, either, and I urge every dealer to do so. Go to www.mraa.com.