What the NMMA is about to require of all its show personnel raises a timely issue and sets an excellent new standard other boat show producers should ponder. Moreover, I think such a policy should be considered by all dealers and marina operators, too. Let me explain. 

It starts with a big change at the American Heart Association. It has announced that hands-only compression CPR works just as well as standard mouth-to-mouth CPR on sudden cardiac arrest victims, while waiting for emergency personnel. Actually, many medical professionals have been saying this for years, but now the Heart Association has made it official. In response, the NMMA will be proactive in providing training by this fall in chest compression CPR for all the staff who work the NMMA shows.

When you think about it, this makes great sense – both the Heart Association’s announcement and the NMMA’s initiative. Let’s face it – we’re part of an aging population. Statistically, we’re likely to witness more heart attacks in the future. Now we can skip the mouth-to-mouth CPR, which many people are reluctant to perform, and still save lives by rapidly pressing on the victim’s chest. That’s because there is still plenty of oxygen in a victim’s blood and firm chest compressions will keep it circulating until help arrives. 

Overall, the Heart Association hopes bystanders will now be more willing to help if they see someone suddenly collapse. Hands-only CPR is simpler and easier to remember. "You only have to do two things. Call 911 and push hard and fast on the middle of the person's chest," says Dr. Michael Sayre, professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State University. CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, can more than double the survival rate in cardiac arrest but, sadly, only about a third of people who collapse get CPR from bystanders.

What’s good policy for boat shows can easily be translated to our dealerships and marinas. When we do the math, the bigger the dealership or the marina, the more likely we’ll see a cardiac arrest. It could be a customer, a guest or an employee. For the staff to be able to immediately respond in the right way could make all the difference. Think about it.

Kudos to the NMMA for recognizing the importance.

And while I’m on the NMMA shows, congrats to Ben Wold, executive vice president, and his New York team for dramatically changing the New York Boat Show dates. After five years of being pushed by the Javits Center into undesirable dates straddling the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, this important show will kick-off the ’09 winter boat show season with new dates in mid-December. The hope is the change will boost attendance and sales at this important industry show!


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