Women are key to future fishing boat sales; E15 sales to go year round

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The term “glass ceiling” is popular these days. But women breaking through the “BASS” ceiling is the right message for boat dealers going forward.

So said Stephanie Vatalaro, vice president of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, speaking to more than 400 attendees at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show’s annual Industry Breakfast last week.

“Despite a perceived lack of representation in the sport of fishing, 45 percent of last year’s new fishing participants were female, and that number continues to grow,” said Vatalaro. “It’s why RBFF launched Making Waves, an initiative designed to empower women and girls to cast off labels and rock the boat - with fishing pole in hand.”

Talk about a contradiction. Research shows kids are more likely to go fishing with their mom – a direct inconsistency with the idea that fishing is a boy’s club. Yet, a 2017 study revealed only 19.3 percent of women and girls thought a fishing participant looks like them. As more girls take an interest in fishing, moms have a great opportunity set a strong example for their kids.

RBFF is working with partner, Fishing’s Future, to create fishing events specifically for women and girls across the country. The mission of Fishing’s Future is to increase participation in recreational angling and promote the sport as a valuable means of connecting kids and families with nature and environmental stewardship.

For dealers, especially those selling fishing boats, RBFF offers exciting, professionally produced materials to promote women and fishing. And, they are free. Making Waves is anchored by features highlighting female anglers casting lines, catching fish and captaining their own ships.

Here’s an exciting video that promotes women fishing that every dealer could have on their website, or could send to customers as part of an email newsletter.

E15 poised for liftoff!

That’s was the headline for a story in CSP Fuels Daily in anticipation of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruling allowing year-round sales of E15 beginning this summer. Currently E15 cannot be sold in the summer months.

The marine industry and many other small engine builders have opposed such an expansion beyond E10 because it has been proven that E15 damages marine, motorcycle, chain saw, lawn mower, snowmobile, pre-2001 vehicles and other small engines.

Our industry’s top concern is consumers mis-fueling marine engines with E15. Confusion is a certainty. Even those favoring E15 year-round sales admit it: “Year-round sales will be huge,” Mike Lorenz, senior vice president of fuel for Sheetz Inc., recently told CSP Fuels. Sheetz has E15 at more than 200 locations. But Sheetz, along more than 90 percent of all retailers selling the ethanol blend, and markets it under the “Unleaded 88” branding. Talk about deceptive.

“Let’s face it,” Lorenz added, “There’s no other grade of gasoline that has that (sales) restriction,” he said. “It’s extremely confusing for the consumer. That would be a huge win that we can sell it year-round like other grades of gasoline.”

The NMMA and other organizations are still calling the expanded sale of ethanol beyond E10 “unnecessary and unjustified” in the U.S. These groups are actively demanding expanded and strict labeling requirements, including a “Warning” label, be adopted before any more E15 is allowed into the marketplace. And, as this label demand continues, dealers should be prepared to immediately become engaged on this issue.

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