Skip to main content

NMMA ‘optimistic’ after Cuba visit and Obama announcement

The National Marine Manufacturers Association concluded a trip to Cuba last Friday, just days before President Obama said he would like to see the half-century-old trade embargo with that nation lifted.

“The reason we conducted these research trips is because there’s so much misinformation about Cuba, the opportunities there, the trade embargo and what competitors are doing,” NMMA export director Julie Balzano told Trade Only Today. “We decided that — rather than form a strategy based on hearsay — we thought the time was right to go down and see for ourselves what the reality is for Cuba and future opportunities for our members.”

It was the second trip the NMMA has made to Cuba; the first occurred last summer.

“Never did we imagine that the timing of these trips would be so spot-on, but that worked out really well,” Balzano added.

They found that the country’s marine infrastructure is solid, though somewhat in a state of disrepair after 54 years of the trade embargo and a communist government, Balzano said.

“If and when U.S. boaters would be allowed to go to Cuba by boat, I think probably there is enough infrastructure in place at the moment, though I think it would be basic for American boaters visiting Cuba,” she said. “I think they struggle a bit with fueling stations in marinas,” for example.

“Cuba, just the country itself, is struggling with infrastructure,” she said. “If tourism grows, they’re going to struggle with hotel occupancy and eateries. It’s still a challenge to get basic items in Cuba.”

The island, though, has a lot to offer boaters in terms of its beauty. “It’s lush and green and mountainous, and the waters are crystal-blue,” Balzano said.

One brand-new marina, government-owned like many of the establishments in Cuba, has 200 berths and plans to build more than 1,000, as well as a hotel complex, apartments and a restaurant.

“It’s a brand-new, state-of-the-art marina,” Balzano said. “It’s marketed as a five-star resort. We spoke to the marketing director there, and they’re quite open about this. They’re hoping at some point in the future that U.S. boaters can legally travel to Cuba.”

Balzano said she thinks the NMMA is in a good position when and if opportunities arrive for U.S. companies. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” she said. “But we are optimistic because we would like to see opportunities for U.S. boatbuilders.”

Related

VOLVO-EARNINGS

Volvo Penta Reports Q4, FY22 Results

Net sales of $470 million for the quarter were a 33% increase compared to the prior year period.

Pulse-Report

DEALERS: Are You Improving the Service Experience?

Our monthly Pulse Report survey asks this and other questions about your dealership. Take the survey here.

NMRA-SCHOLARSHIP

NMRA Sets Scholarship Deadline

Students pursuing education in the marine trades can apply for the National Marine Representatives Association awards until April 1.

MARINE-PRODUCTS

Marine Products Reports Record Q4

The builder of Chaparral and Robalo boats reported net sales were up 42% for the quarter and 28% for fiscal year 2022.

1_SHURHOLD

Shurhold Appoints COO

Forrest Ferrari has years of management, business development, IT and quality-assurance experience.

MOBILE-CATCH-CENTER

RBFF, Pure Fishing Partner for a First Catch Center

Pure Fishing will equip a mobile trailer with tackle and gear to bring fishing experiences to areas of South Carolina where participation is low.

Norm

An Oft-Overlooked Sales Opportunity

A recent report from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation showed that women comprise 37% of all anglers. If you haven’t tapped this segment, you’re missing out.

1. 2023 new boat retail outlook

Too Many High-Priced Boats

To wrap up 2022, marine retailers reported lower demand, expressed more negative sentiment and voiced concerns about rising inventory. Boat prices and the economy remained top of mind for dealers in December.

Soundings Nov 2022

New-Boat Registrations Continue to Slide

As the gaudy sales figures from the pandemic continue to return to more realistic numbers, the main segments of the recreational boating industry saw new-model registrations of 4,421 in November, a 30.3% drop from 6,340 during the same time in 2021. .