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Seattle show rides a wave of good sales news

The largest boat show on the West Coast is set to open Friday for its nine-day run in Seattle amid rosy reports that 2015 was an excellent year for boat sales in Washington.

The dual-site Seattle Boat Show is held in the Centurylink Field Event Center and afloat at Chandlers Cove on South Lake Union. This year it will boast a fleet of more than 1,000 boats ranging from paddleboards to superyachts. It also features more than three acres of accessory exhibits and more than 200 boating and fishing seminars, among the largest array of programs in any of the industry’s major boat shows.

“We are really pumped for this year’s event,” Northwest Marine Trades Association president George Harris said. “We’ve brought back a parking promotion this year that I’m very optimistic about — $2 parking on weekends with the purchase of tickets online. We are also promoting our popular ‘Boatless in Seattle’ campaign on TV more than ever before.”

But what’s really lifting the NMTA’s expectations for a great show is last week’s final report on 2015 new-boat sales in Washington. It documents that all-important new-boat sales rose a handsome 23.7 percent for the year. That nearly triples the industry’s 2015 forecast of 8 percent nationwide growth, as reported in the Jan. 20 edition of Trade Only Today. It’s also the second consecutive year that new-boat sales have enjoyed a better than 23 percent rise in Washington.

The ‘Boatless in Seattle’ theme (a play on the iconic film Sleepless in Seattle) is evident in the NMTA’s year-round promotional programs and it part of the boat show TV commercial.

Thanking the right people

One of my favorite writers for small business trends is Rieva Lesonsky, founder and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company.

In her Trendcast blog, she recently urged readers not to forget to thank those who make a difference. She cited one of her favorite quotes from President John F. Kennedy who said: “We must find the time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

Obviously, for marine dealers (and all small businesses) it’s the customers that make a difference and deserve genuine thanks. Moreover, I venture to say most dealers make it a point of thanking their customers for the business they bring. But Lesonsky was going farther.

She reminded her readers that it’s just as important to be grateful to “the people who’ve helped you get where you are today.” Clearly employees would be very high on any list. But there are others we might tend to overlook and to whom a sincere note or expression of thanks would be most appropriate.

This list should include the support team, for example, a dealership’s accountants, lawyers, web designers, snow plowing and landscape service, a supplier’s order coordinators and others who loyally take a burden from you, thereby making a difference.

Bottom line: It doesn’t take much time to give proper thanks and it goes a long way.


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Benoît Verley Named President of Brunswick’s Venture Boat Group

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MMTA Honors Industry Veteran Larry Russo, Sr.

Larry Russo Sr., industry leader and former owner of Russo Marine, was presented with the Frank Farrell Distinguished Service Award by the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association.

Passagemaker Names New Editor-in-Chief

Former Soundings Trade Only editor-in-chief Jeff Moser will take the helm of the long-running marine title.

Mercury Introduces Joystick Piloting for Single-Outboard Pontoons

Only previously available on multi-outboard boats, joystick piloting now will be offered for single-outboard pontoon boats.

U.S. and U.K. to Discuss Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Boat Imports.

The nations plan to negotiate retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-made boats entering the United Kingdom.