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Smile, You Might Be on Camera

At IBEX earlier this week, NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer told 800 opening-breakfast attendees that “boat shows are our competitive advantage.” He could have been referring to the recent Jersey Shore Boat Sale and Expo, which chalked up another big success last weekend.

It was one of the few in-person shows that ran in 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Produced by the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, the show was a success then and another big winner last weekend.

“For the second year in a row, we headed into this show in a time of incredible uncertainty,” said MTA/NJ executive director Melissa Danko. “Last year, we faced Covid head on, with many other events simply being cancelled. But the boaters showed up and gave us a 12-year record attendance.

“This time,” she continued, “we had to deal with inventory levels and related challenges the industry and many of our dealers are facing. Planning and preparing was difficult, and we had to be flexible, but we all worked hard — our staff, board, exhibitors and volunteers — to make it happen, and the dealers made the show look really great.”

Danko noted that the show was smaller than previous years, but that didn’t seem to bother the crowds, if they were even aware of it. The second highest number of attendees passed through the gates in the event’s 13-year history at FirstEnergy Park.

The success in New Jersey confirms what the industry has been seeing with all shows that have run since the late-August Orlando Boat Show. That show kicked off the industry’s fall circuit, which wraps up with the Fort Myers Boat Show on Florida’s southwest coast in mid-November.

“It’s clear the consumers want to attend boat shows, not only by the fact that they support the shows with strong attendance, but by listening and watching them climb aboard different boats to shop and compare,” Danko said. “We received lots of positive feedback from them.”

Preliminary reports from exhibitors indicate sales were very strong, with serious buyers at the show all three days. “Boats were sold, and many prospective buyers were captured by the exhibiting dealers,” Danko said.

Ohio Watercraft Officers Get Body Cams

Boaters in Ohio may want to spruce up and be sure to look their best on the water. In what may be a budding trend on our waterways, officers in the state’s Division of Parks and Watercraft will soon be outfitted with body cameras.

Although body cameras for law-enforcement officers are not mandated in Ohio, the state unveiled a plan to spend $3.5 million to outfit some 272 officers with cameras. It’s estimated that up to two-thirds of all law enforcement agencies in Ohio do not outfit their officers with body cams, primarily due to equipment and video-storage costs, according to Jeff Frischkorn, a veteran outdoors writer, editor and blogger.

Funding to acquire the equipment is coming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. That legislation allows states to use funds for necessary expenditures due to the public health emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In all, the agency says it will purchase 350 body cameras, along with the requisite hardware, software and tech support. It’s unclear how many other states equip their officers patrolling the waterways or may follow suit.

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