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Looking back: The best posts of 2008

Usually, I don’t look back. To me, life is more exciting looking forward. Still, 2008 will end tomorrow night and I’ll be glad to see it go. It sure hasn’t been much fun for boating. Actually, it sucked!

That said, however, I think it could be fun to wrap up ’08 by looking back to see what subjects you found most interesting as measured by the volume of your comments to this “Dealer Outlook” blog. Moreover, if I said I haven’t had fun writing this blog in ‘08, I’d be lying. Thanks to your readership and, especially, your participation, it’s been a lot of fun. So, what did I find?

When I started looking back, I was betting the top subjects that drew the most comments would be (a) dealer/manufacturer relationships i.e. dealer agreements, and (2) boat shows. Wrong on both!

“It’s About Racial Diversity” and “Is It Time for a New National Meeting?” were the two top “Dealer Outlook" blogs with a combined 78 comments from you. As things go in the blogosphere, that’s an incredibly high number of responses.

Interestingly, the blog on racial diversity drew the widest array of comments and opinions, ranging from: “…as an industry, we’ve been selling to the same WASP male demo forever but the face of America is changing and as an industry, we need to change with it;” to “Let’s not politicize this, or put together some bogus POLITICALLY CORRECT campaign (which minorities will see through) to appeal to that audience!” All the comments and discussion made for interesting reading and, for obvious reasons, we can expect to revisit this broad subject again in ’09.

The blog asking about a new national meeting for the industry was not one I thought would draw much comment when I wrote it. But, it did. With rare exception, most comments favored the idea of returning our industry to some new form of the old IMTEC meetings that guided the marine industry for decades. Given the current challenging economic times we’re in, the idea of a new industry-wide meeting isn’t on anyone’s radar screen. But, when we return to good times, and we will, who knows what might come of the idea for an all-industry gathering.

The next most popular blog was “Did We Miss the Boat, Too?” In it I compared the boating industry to Detroit’s big three that had literally given away the family car market in order to build SUVs and pickups which, now, nobody wants. In boating, we once had inexpensive entry level rigs (boat, motor & trailer) for a lot less than $10,000. But that gave way to building bigger and more expensive boats. Most of your comments recognized a need to offer affordable entry level boats again as a means of getting growth back into the industry. It was a fascinating discussion and, although I have no inside information on this, I’m betting some good manufacturers have taken note and we may see some results when things turnaround.

Finally, blogs that decried the gloom and doom outlooks, or blasted the media’s fixation with airing bad news, also drew large numbers of comments from you. Perhaps it was a way for all of us to vent in an uncomfortable time. . . or, maybe, just a way to voice “enough is enough!” Somehow it seemed to serve a purpose and that made it worth posting.

Thanks, again, for your readership. See you in ’09, and best wishes for a prosperous New Year.


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.

Limestone Boat Company Launches the L-200R

The company also announces the release of an electric outboard roadmap and the availability of Aquasport boats in Canada.

A Tax Incentive for Innovation

A deep dive into the research and development tax credit usually yields savings

ABYC Reschedules Meetings

Postponed due to Covid, the annual meeting goes virtual in February, and the Marine Law Symposium moves to April in Providence, R.I.

Daiwa Appoints Marketing Manager

Marc Mills will handle marketing efforts for North American and South American markets.

VIP Access Available for MIBS

The tickets include admission to the VIP lounges at One Herald Plaza and the Miami Beach Convention Center, along with other perks.

South Fork Wind Farm Gets EPA Approval

The Clean Air Act permit contains pollution control requirements for the construction and operation of the wind farm, which will be located southwest of Martha’s Vineyard.