What’s hotter: Discover Boating or the planet?

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Talk about warming: Discover Boating continues to be hot, while what to do about the planet remains a dilemma.

First, our Discover Boating national campaign continues to rack up record performance numbers, once again proving beyond any doubt its value to the industry and its impact in the marketplace. Here are some highlights:

From Oct. 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014, visits to the Internet portal www.discoverboating.com were up 40 percent (934,447) from the same period last year. The all-important page views were up 24 percent (2,046,130) and the average site visit duration was up 42 percent (2:21) for the same period.

More good news: a record 541,229 referrals to manufacturers during the period represented 58 percent of the overall DiscoverBoating.com traffic, with engine and trailer manufacturers now added to the reporting tool.

Once visitors arrive on the site, where they go is a solid indication of quality and interest and the news is particularly good here. The important “buying content” on the site is made up of: the Boat Selector Tool and Boat Type Detail pages; boat manufacturer/brands pages; the finance section with its Boat Loan Calculator; the Certified Dealer section; and the engines pages. The “buying content” accounted for 61 percent of all page views, an increase of 66 percent over the comparable period last year.

It’s also notable that 29 percent of the visitors to DiscoverBoating.com were return visitors while 71 percent were first-timers. The return visitors represented a 143 percent increase from a year ago, a clear indication that efforts are strong to make the Discover Boating brand recognized in search engines and considered valuable as the source to return to for additional information.

Finally, social media has seen big gains for Discover Boating. Visits from Facebook (3,735) increased 99 percent and Twitter visits (1,150) were up 328 percent over the same period last year.

All this success notwithstanding, as an industry intent on growing, we can’t be satisfied with the current level of funding or the fact that we still can’t initiate a national TV campaign. Serious discussions should be taking place now about increased funding.

How should we respond to climate change?

The White House report on climate change last week paints ominous pictures: $94 billion in Boston flood damage; coastal erosion wiping out Miami, Tampa, Charleston and Virginia Beach; heat waves killing thousands in Chicago; and Great Lakes water temperatures jumping 7 percent by 2050 and 12 percent by 2100, promoting toxic algae and invasive species; and a 74 percent increase in the burned areas of California.

While the report warns of potential weather extremes down the road, assuming it’s accurate, it also notes that it’s not inevitable if changes can be adapted. So, how do you think we should react? Vote for one of the choices below: just send No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 as a comment.

No. 1: Not, yet, convinced it’s all true

No. 2: We need new government policies to deal with it now

No. 3: Ignore it, there’s not much we can do about it.

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