As we turn the page on 2021, it is apparent that our biggest challenges — the supply chain and the Covid-19 pandemic — will remain with us for some time. Soundings Trade Only spoke with numerous industry experts for our Outlook 2022 issue, and we found a great deal of discussion about how to recognize complex marketplace problems, adapt with strong teams and succeed.
We asked these experts: 1) What were your company’s most significant accomplishments in 2021; 2) How did your company navigate the supply-chain constraints that have hurt the industry; 3) What are you most optimistic about in the new year; and 4) What do you consider the biggest challenges in 2022 and beyond?
The following responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Mary Paige Abbott
Chief Commander, America’s Boating Club
1. Increasing the number of synchronous and asynchronous course offerings to members and non-members at market-competitive costs while meeting our 501(c)3 requirements.
2. Our organization has been fortunate because we have product delivery options such as e-books, rather than traditional printed hard copy, which may be affected by supply-chain constraints.
3. Our product offerings for the recreational boater. Our mission and purpose are relevant, given the quantity of new recreational boaters and subsequent accidents and deaths in 2020.
4. Maintaining the attention of the recreational boater to continue learning, engaging and connecting with the boating community.
Director of Sales, Marine, Lippert
1. In 2021, Lippert introduced several significant products as part of our strategy to establish our name in the marine industry, which represent subsidiary Lewmar’s first expansion into the pontoon market. We are building a strategic, unified marine team that will support the industry and its monumental growth, and we made capital investments that will allow us to respond to the ever-increasing demand in the marine marketplace.
2. We doubled down on our machining capabilities by replacing older machines and adding new technology that allowed us to increase productivity and capacity. We created additional warehouse space for raw materials and finished goods, as well as bolstered shipping processes and added additional team-member support in our distribution centers to more effectively manage inflow and outflow of products and materials.
3. Next year promises to be another of sustained growth in the marine industry, and the Lippert team looks forward to continuing to develop our presence as a trusted supplier in this space. We believe the innovative products that we will introduce will change the way people use their boats for years to come, and we are excited to see the impact these will have on the marine industry.
4. Keeping our team members engaged, happy and safe in an increasingly competitive employment environment remains our biggest focus for 2022, and we continue to create plans that promote their individual contributions and ensure they are fulfilled by their work at Lippert. As the supply chain continues to normalize, we are building strategies that allow us to balance these logistical challenges with our overall goal of making the outdoor recreational experience better, whenever or wherever our customers may be.
President, NMMA Canada
1. We were pleased that, through our advocacy efforts, the luxury tax threshold was moved from CAN$100,000 to CAN$250,000 for boats. We also prevented changes to regulations that would have hindered rental boat outlets and boating safety.
2. We have worked closely with our NMMA Canada members to find solutions to navigate the supply-chain constraints. We are also working with a new Canadian organization composed of former cabinet ministers and elected officials, formed to help bring back domestic production of certain components where possible.
3. We’ve seen a surge in people getting into recreational boating. In Canada, there was a 73 percent increase in people taking a boating course. We expect to see continued interest in boating in 2022 and beyond.
4. The continued uncertainty of the pandemic causing potential limitations remains a concern. The luxury tax on boats valued above CAN$250,000 is perhaps the most significant concern to the recreational boating industry at this time, as it will affect U.S. and European sales in Canada.
1. Evolving and elevating our business that saw us refocus the strong brand and share the story of what the future looks like for us as a business. We also expanded into the commercial marine market and grew our global sales team in a competitive recruiting market.
2. We substantially increased our safety stock holdings at our recently-set-up operations in the United States and the Netherlands, leveraged the well-established relationships with our suppliers to secure availability of inbound goods, and refined our procurement and manufacturing process through investment of new machinery, all with one goal in mind: to ensure our global customers had access to the products, information and resources they needed when they needed them.
3. Finding even better ways to support our distribution partners and customers in adding value to their business, and ultimately the boating lives of end users all around the world. And we’re anticipating a massive refit season in terms of volume of new and old boaters.
4. Supply-chain constraints are not going away anytime soon, and Covid will be with us for some time. It will be important for businesses to have established risk mitigation plans in place and be agile enough to switch between these mitigation plans as required. And we have to contunue to recruit A-players in every area of our businesses. This is not just about compensation; it’s about culture, opportunity, shared drive to overcome challenges, common values, very clear strategic goals and communication.
Vice President Sales and Marketing, ProSpec Electronics
1. Navigating the supply chain successfully is at the top of the list. The struggle was real, as lead times were unpredictable, parts were scarce, and transit times from China were double. We were also able to launch a new JBL and Infinity source unit, which was a huge accomplishment, given the inability to travel to China and collaborate with factory engineers.
2. Ultimately, it was because of great teamwork among personnel in engineering, sales, purchasing and our factory. If I had to place a circle around the biggest conundrum, it would be the lack of microcontroller units. However, the factory leveraged relationships with overseas vendors to procure the necessary amounts to build complete units.
3. I’m looking forward to watching all of these new boat buyers discuss their satisfaction with the boating lifestyle. This will continue to solidify our industry, as the choice of family togetherness will help foster sustained marine industry growth for years to come.
4. I think a big challenge is developing creative ways to continue to engage boat buyers, presale as well as post-sale. In other words, continuing to show that launching, operating and taking care of a boat is straightforward. Another challenge is being environmentally conscious and making sure that all of these boaters entering the waterways are aware of and complying with best practices. As a former wildlife biologist, that is very important to me.
Executive Vice President, Division Head, Suzuki Marine
1. First on the list, I’d have to put Suzuki Marine’s cross-country relocation from Southern California to Tampa, Fla. Being located near our new Marine U.S. Technical Center in Panama City gives us great advantages when it comes to working with boatbuilders and dealers in
developing new outboard technology. Suzuki is also proud of our work and development on behalf of the marine environment.
2. It has been a learning process, and it continues to be one as our team works almost daily. Our goal has been to improve where we can and improvise where necessary to get product to our dealers as quickly as possible.
3. Suzuki and the industry at large are fortunate to have such strong interest in boating and the outdoors and that so many new boaters have entered the fold. We’re confident that our supply and transportation challenges will continue to stabilize, and that we will be able to meet the needs of a growing market.
4. With the influx of new boaters, we need to support our industry/dealers with more technicians to handle today’s and future products. We are developing new programs to make this training available to dealers and trade schools in the near future.
Senior Vice President Marketing and Communications and Chief Brand Officer, NMMA
1. We are extremely proud of the successful work we did to build industry momentum with the “Get on Board” campaign in partnership with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, delivering more than 32 million YouTube views, 2 billion impressions, 6.2 million visits to DiscoverBoating.com and much more.
3. There are many things to be optimistic about: We have an industry that’s done exceptionally well during the pandemic, and consumer demand remains strong as we enter the new year. As of this writing, our core economic indicators, namely consumer confidence, spending, GDP and housing, all remain healthy. What’s more, consumers continue to rank time outdoors as a priority. With the refresh of Discover Boating and a new campaign launching in the spring, continuing our industry’s momentum so we’re positioning ourselves for success in the next three to five years is one of our greatest opportunities.
4. The supply chain and labor market will continue to pose challenges for our industry, like they will for many others. Overcoming these so we can continue building and delivering exceptional products will remain a priority. Further, in the next three to five years, one of our greatest challenges will be maintaining the unique momentum we’ve built these past two years. To do this requires all segments across the industry to work together to ensure we’re providing the boating consumer the best boating experience possible. This starts with a great experience for our industry’s workers — it goes back to first tackling that workforce challenge — and putting the consumer first from the moment boating enters their radar through the entirety of their ownership experience.
President and CEO, Imtra
1. I am most proud of our ability to maintain supplies and do better than many other folks in terms of consistent supply of components to boatbuilders and our service yard customers. If we hadn’t taken an aggressive approach to inventory build in mid-2020, we likely would have caused some headaches for our customers.
2. We bulked up ordering and changed our forecasting model for our key supplier partners to provide them a greater sense of our needs as the market expanded. Many of our key suppliers are vertically integrated and have a great supply chain behind them, so we and our customers have fared well.
3. The market continues to be quite active despite the challenges of Covid and a limited supply of new and used boats for consumers to buy. Long delivery times don’t appear to impact consumers’ decisions to place new orders.
4. We still need to make the early experience of new boat owners a positive one. We’ve gathered a number of new folks to the lifestyle boating offers, and we want to ensure they have a great time so that they want to stay with it. In addition, we need to continue to invest in workforce development on the service and aftermarket side of the industry.
Maritime Senior Vice President, Inmarsat
1. Inmarsat can look back on a momentous year for the company. Inmarsat Orchestra, representing an initial five-year investment of $100 million, and Inmarsat Elera are exciting advancements that will have huge implications and benefits for a range of seafarers and all our global mobility customers.
2. We were not adversely affected by supply-chain constraints. However, we did witness average daily data consumption per vessel increase from 3.4 to 9.8 gigabytes between January 2020 and March 2021, and we see significant growth in the uptake of remote digital solutions. The pandemic accelerated the growth of VSAT connectivity usage and spending as digitization in the maritime sector expands, further increasing demand for bandwidth and on-board communications. Inmarsat had the structure, experience, stability and flexibility to adapt quickly to highlight current services and introduce a range of new initiatives to help the yachting and seafaring community.
3. Our merger with Viasat will give us the scale to innovate and deliver superior, cost-effective solutions for our customers. Both are leading technology companies, both operating on the Ka band and with many complementary capabilities. We are also extending our GX network with new satellite launches, transforming Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress capacity and offering global capabilities.
4. In our sector, there are too many players and far too many emerging players. We expect to see further consolidation of the crowded satellite sector, so there will be some interesting developments. Satellite providers today require scale to provide the end user with the capacity that’s expected in today’s world.
President, World Cat
1. World Cat had the best year in our 20-year history. I think of all the new people we have added and all the great team members we have the pleasure to work with. We have developed many new processes and procedures to improve our teammates’ experience, and that was our greatest success in 2021.
2. The biggest issue with the supply chain has been the unneeded stress on our team and the teams of vendors. We had to work much harder on communication internally and with our vendors, and are proud to say we were able to meet many of our delivery schedules with our customers because of it. Our vendors did a great job focusing on these few things, and together we had a good year.
3. Our new facility in Greenville, N.C., is a great opportunity to grow and continue being the world leader in catamarans. We also have many new products coming out, including our new 260CC, which comes out this spring.
4. Our biggest challenge is continuing to find great people. World Cat is all about the people that make it all work.
Principal and CEO, Seatronx
1. We were able to grow and meet and exceed projections in all of our key market sectors, secured notable contracts and met delivery schedules consistently throughout the year. We did this by implementing new product releases for niche market solutions and sticking to goals established over the last two years, which primarily focused on investing in our foundation.
2. We made a decision early on to budget accordingly and acquire additional inventory on our primary product lines for 2021. For some products that we distribute, we found that supply lead times were drifting further and further out, so contingency plans for all our parts and products were put in place to ensure we had sufficient components to manufacture and distribute without delay.
3. We do believe 2022 will be another good growth year; however, planning is paramount to meet demands. Anticipated growth is primarily due to the bottleneck of new boats being delivered, a very active used-boat market and a new generation of boaters entering the market. With the addition of new market opportunities presented in 2020 and a continuation of a busy pipeline in 2021, we foresee a continuation of carryover projects in various stages to come to fruition in 2022.
4. It is probable that current conditions will continue throughout much of 2022. On some levels, it is uncharted territory, as it may feel like we are going deeper down a hole and waiting to see some light. In addition, businesses must be astute to world conditions, politics, regulation changes and unforeseen manmade and environmental issues at a higher level than before. Understanding these new challenges, planning accordingly and adapting your plan will help mitigate new and continued challenges in 2022.
Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Management, ACR Electronics
1. The DAME Design Award for the ResQLink View RLS personal locator beacon at Metstrade was the perfect end to the year for ACR Electronics and our sister company Ocean Signal. We also added the ACR Bivy Stick two-way satellite messenger to our range. It’s the world’s smallest and most simple satellite communication device, and it further diversifies our safety portfolio.
2. The life-saving products we manufacture are very regulated and do not allow us to deviate the design when supply-chain constraints become a real issue, as we saw in 2021. What might seem like a simple component change or switching to a new GPS that is upgraded by the manufacturer actually requires our products to go back and be tested, validated and reapproved by Cospas-Sarsat. This process, at a minimum, can easily take six months to a year, and the costs are not insignificant. We watched the market, we responded proactively, and we increased our purchase orders substantially to stay ahead of potential shortages. Did we have a few shortages? Absolutely, but they were short-term issues that we were able to resolve very quickly.
3. The advancement of technology and new opportunities to combine technologies means it is a very exciting time in the safety and survival sector. We are in the final stages of development of our next-generation EPIRBs and personal locator beacons, which will meet upcoming standards and incorporate more features to enhance the chance of rescue in an emergency.
4. One of our roles is to spread the message about boating safety, and about the importance of carrying the right kit on board and on your life jacket. It is extremely positive for the industry that there are more newcomers to boating and more people buying boats, but in turn we must recognize and communicate the risks involved and play our part in informing the boating community about the best safety devices for their personal needs.
Marine Business Development Manager, Liqui Moly
1. Our customer service levels are something to be proud of; our production teams in our Germany headquarters kept our U.S. customers stocked the whole year, with full product shelves. We had some hurdles but collaboratively overcame them. Equally as important in 2021 was expanding our sales rep force and securing some very well-known marine distributors nationwide, thus further increasing Liqui Moly product availability.
2. In Germany, our customer-service and order-entry staff worked tirelessly with our logistics managers and freight forwarders to best coordinate shipments going to port. Together, we took advantage of every available scheduled container to expedite shipments for our U.S. customers. In the United States, our warehouse in Memphis, Tenn., proved to be very helpful for fulfillment. We aggressively forecasted demand and heavily stocked both inventory breadth and depth to create better availability to all customer channels.
3. We are most optimistic about sales growth. We continue to hear from dealers and users that the Liqui Moly marine brand provides both enhanced performance and high-quality protection for their boat’s engine. And on a personal level, we look forward to traveling and visiting our customers nationwide, providing support and working together.
4. In general, the marine industry is doing very well but, for us, being new in this market, we have to overcome a misconception about using the proper oil. The proper oil does not need to carry the logo of an engine manufacturer, but rather needs to meet the specification required by the engine. Our biggest challenge and opportunity will be to educate users about what to use in their engines without fear of losing their warranty.
Show Director, IBEX
1. Our most significant accomplishment was that we were able to host a safe in-person IBEX show and bring the marine industry together face-to-face for three solid days of connection, business and progress.
3. I am most optimistic about the evolution of boats and the innovations still to come. It’s these innovations that will keep our existing and new boaters happy while continuing to bring more people into boating.
4. We continue to be concerned about the Covid situation, as new variants spread and the impact is unknown. In addition, supply chain and materials shortages will ultimately have a negative impact on boatbuilders, and this impact is from the top down.
Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs, NMMA
1. From the advocacy perspective, eliminating the European Union’s 25 percent retaliatory tariff on American-made boats is top of mind, considering that the industry’s exports to our second-largest international market were cut in half when the countermeasure was implemented. Additionally, protecting and expanding boating access — from passing the bipartisan infrastructure deal and securing favorable language in the Biden administration’s 30 by 30 report, to defeating efforts to restrict water sports in more than a dozen states — were key accomplishments in 2021.
2. NMMA’s advocacy efforts have focused on continuing to educate policy-makers at every level of government about the issues the industry is facing. As a result, we have been at the negotiating table as policy-makers, especially at the federal level, crafting legislation and regulations to mitigate supply-chain constraints.
3. We have a strong foundation to build on what we accomplished in 2021. At the federal level, we have an opportunity to capitalize on the progress made on the trade front and eliminate the U.K.’s 25 percent tariff on American-made boats. Additionally, the bipartisan infrastructure bill provides many opportunities to steer funding and priority to much-needed boating-access projects across the country. At the state level, we are well positioned to counter threats to water-sports access and pivot to a more proactive posture.
4. We must remain nimble and vigilant as advocacy continues to evolve in the pandemic era. Policy-wise, advancing our sustainability efforts is critical. Policy-makers at every level of government are stepping up efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, and we need to take a proactive and realistic approach to this challenge.
President and CEO, Navico
1. We had quite a big story for Navico this year with our acquisition by Brunswick Corp. and becoming an independent business unit within their Advanced Systems Group. This wasn’t just a huge accomplishment for the 2021 calendar year, but a historic milestone for our company. Leading up to the announcement of the pending deal, we had year-over-year record sales totaling $470 million. We’re very proud of that and excited for where this will take us for the future.
2. These are challenging times, not just for the marine industry, but for anyone in the manufacturing sector facing constraints. We’ve strengthened and bolstered our supply-chain team, and as a company, we are treating this like a crisis situation, meeting daily and staying on top of it 24/7. You can’t relax and treat it like any other part of business right now, given the challenges we all face.
3. It’s been such an exciting time for the industry with the robust demand and surge in boaters across the world, and especially seeing the number of new boaters that have come to check out boating and the water lifestyle. I’m optimistic that we can keep a good segment of newcomers and grow those that regularly participate. On the product side, I am optimistic because we have some great new products coming out, including a new multifunction display that will feature a unique and seamless user experience, so keep your eyes out in early 2022.
4. I don’t expect that to go away or be solved by next year. But, I think the safety and health of our employees is still at the forefront through 2022, as well as keeping employees engaged and energized in these pandemic times. That also includes continuing to recruit top new talent. I am fully focused on the integration with Brunswick’s Advanced Systems Group, keeping our 2,000-plus global employees safe and making sure we are supplying our customers.
Sales Manager, Smartgyro
1. We expanded the Smartgyro range of gyroscopic stabilizers with two key product launches: the SG20 and SG60. This means we can meet the needs of more boat owners and builders, with units for a variety of vessels in the 30- to 80-foot range. We also moved to a new, larger headquarters in La Spezia, Italy. And our worldwide dealer network was expanded with the confirmation of several new partnerships in recent months.
2. Smartgyro implements long-term production planning and monitors the market to minimize any delays in the supply chain. Over the years, we have consolidated partnerships with reliable suppliers who are well positioned to respond to the rapid growth of our sector.
3. After all our hard work in 2021, we are looking forward to harvesting the results of these efforts with increased sales and a growth in the number of installations. We are also planning to further develop our network with new partnerships across the world and are developing new models in 2022, including units specifically designed for the heavy-commercial sector.
4. Finding the right staff members, especially technical staff, will continue to be difficult.
CEO, Limetstone Boat Co.
1. Our acquisition of Ebbtide Holdings, which secured our ownership in the Aquasport Boats and Boca Bay Boat lines, in addition to our licensing of the global IP and manufacturing rights of the Limestone Boats brand; the commencement of revitalization of the manufacturing facility itself and the consumer-facing brands of Aquasport and Limestone with the assistance and guidance of our professional staff and vendor partners.
2. We bolstered our leadership in the areas of procurement, finance and inventory control. This has allowed us to identify supply delays and hurdles, and adjust model-mix production as needed to minimize production delays and provide consistency and financial growth.
3. We’re most optimistic about the easing of supply-chain delays and improved visibility as to timing and certainty of supply, such that we can manufacture through the backlog of dealer orders at an elevated rate, thus rebuilding inventory levels at retail and further capitalizing on increased consumer demand. This will in turn drive reorders and continued growth as projected by industry leaders and economists.
4. Our biggest challenges are continued supply-chain delays and bottlenecks, continuing to find the appropriate labor force, and managing the delivery expectations of the customer who has ordered or wants to order product.
1. We introduced the SunLift SLX, resulting in doubling the company size this year. We also became black belts in supply chain out of necessity to support that hyper-growth while our suppliers’ capacity decreased.
2. We got lucky with the timing since we were already beefing up the supply chain in anticipation of doubling our volume due to the SunLift SLX introduction, which gave our suppliers significant time to plan.
3. We are still seeing strong consumer demand continuing through next year. We expect continued challenges with supply chain and logistics for all of next year, but we have been able to bring our lead times way down by ordering earlier and adjusting the expected lead times in our system of the parts we need.
4. Constraints in labor and the supply chain will clearly continue and throttle growth in the industry over the next year or more, as it appears demand continues to outstrip supply. In the marine industry, I worry we are creating a bubble in the supply chain, as manufacturers are solving their production woes by overstocking components. This could lead to a dangerous deflationary period largely due to a fast drop in overpriced commodities and shipping, which would further decelerate demand until pricing stabilizes.
Founder and Managing Partner, Slammer Marine
1. Our best accomplishment was achieving 2021 top-line growth of more than 40 percent. We’re a new business, so for us our accomplishments are measured in our growth. The business has grown nicely, and I’m optimistic that we’ll keep that going next year.
2. In 2021, we had no issues getting delivery of the fabric coverings for our product. But supply-chain constraints remain a challenge; close communication with suppliers and customers is critical to delivering a high-quality customer experience.
3. I feel best about the momentum we started over the last couple of years. We see new opportunities to expand our customer base and build brand awareness. For example, we’ll show the product and share our story at The Docks Expo in Nashville, Tenn., where marina managers come from all over the country. I’m excited about discussions with marina operators becoming more frequent.
4. Inflationary pressure on raw materials is going to remain an issue. Some raw-material prices have gone through the roof. Will the consumer absorb any product price increases? At what point will the decision to purchase a new boat, accessory or other capital investment, such as a new dock, be deferred?
Head of Sales, Cox Marine
1. We secured additional funding to assist in a ramp-up in production to ensure the business can keep up with demand. The CXO300 diesel outboard received BSO-II certification. That was in addition to EPA Tier 3, IMO II and RCD II, making it the first outboard — diesel or gasoline — of its rating to be granted permission to operate on Lake Constance, which is a highly regulated European lake.
2. The supply-chain constraints had a significant impact, particularly on the delivery of a major component, the PTT (power, tilt and trim) system. To resolve this, we made the strategic decision to bring the production of the PTT in-house to our headquarters. This enables us to keep the production of all subassemblies in-house, thereby ensuring that the highest standards are maintained throughout the build process of our diesel outboard.
3. The marine market is very strong with very high levels of demand, so we are very optimistic that we will experience considerable growth in 2022.
4. We are hoping there will be no further supply-chain issues that will prohibit us from meeting the high demand for our products.
1. From a manufacturer’s standpoint, the NMMA has delivered a long list of advocacy wins in 2021, especially the elimination of the highly punitive 25 percent E.U. retaliatory tariffs on American-made boats. From an association standpoint, the NMMA established a long-term strategic partnership with Informa Markets to create the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show, the world’s largest international boat show.
2. In many ways, associations are still navigating the impact of supply-chain constraints because it is disrupting consumer boat shows at a time when we’re seeing record interest in attending shows. Supply-chain constraints remain the No. 1 reason the marine industry is unable to fully service the extraordinary market demand we’re experiencing.
3. There are many reasons to be optimistic for the year ahead. The economic fundamentals remain strong, and consumer demand is high. Essentially, consumers have been choosing what’s most important in their lives, and boating and fishing have clearly made the cut.
4. The headwinds we are watching are closely interconnected: supply-chain disruptions, gas prices and inflation. There is also concern about industry complacency. With all the consumer interest coming our way, we need to remain mindful that this truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand and fill our pipeline with a whole new generation of consumers. If we market to, service and delight these consumers, we will set our industry up for guaranteed success in the years to come.
Sales and Marketing Director, Scout Boats
1. Launching three new models and a second-generation leaning post on the 530 LXF while battling supply-chain issues, workforce issues and, of course, the pandemic.
2. We worked closer with our vendors, dealers and customers by locking in exact builds in a sufficient time to order everything needed, well within or before the lead-time deadlines. We’ve also been cross-training our production crews.
3. Retail sales are excellent, and we’ve got even more exciting new models coming out very soon. We are working closely with our dealer network to do what’s best for our customers and adapting to the challenges.
4. We need more inventory in the field for customers to touch and feel, and will continue to face supply-chain and workforce challenges.
CEO and President, Medart Engine & Marine
1. Both adding and retaining our associates and helping them get through illness and natural disasters. In turn, our associates worked harder than ever, especially in finding and securing inventory that so many customers needed. Even with our own high level of inventory standards, I have never seen in my business life of over 30 years the challenges we have faced in 2020 and 2021, and may well face in 2022.
2. Forecast and commit to much longer lead times that require more of our time, space and capital. I don’t see this changing in 2022.
3. We have long taken pride in understanding the pains and needs of our customers. Today, many of our
customers better understand supply constraints. We have taken the time to explain to many, so they in turn can give reasonable answers to their boating customers. We believe this is absolutely critical to help the industry keep existing and new boaters for years to come.
4. Big challenges remain with labor shortages and costs, and single-source component manufacturers — in particular, electronic components. I hope that future Washington policies do not directly increase the tax of making and owning a boat, as well as indirect taxes on energy that would curtail the pleasure of being on the water.
Anthony M. Miceli
Regional Account Manager, Marine, Hubbell
1. The completion of our new Hubbell Marine Smart Dockside Power Pedestals.
2. We worked very closely with our existing vendors to receive materials and components as quickly as possible. We also engaged and on-boarded additional sourcing options and worked with our engineering teams to identify alternative solutions.
3. The continued growth within the boating industry and our constant focus on producing high-quality marine products.
4. We see the increased costs and lead times with obtaining materials and components to continue to be our biggest challenge in 2022.
Show Director, Newport Exhibition Group
1. We were able to maintain our core staff and to have the Newport International Boat Show without Covid restrictions. Plus, attendance was up 10 percent over 2019.
2. We had to be patient and flexible with our exhibitors as they dealt with supply-chain constraints. Not knowing what the footprint of the show would be until the 11th hour was stressful on both operational and financial levels. We were grateful to end up with an event that we could all feel good about.
3. We’ve proved that we can put on a successful show during unprecedented circumstances, and with the industry continuing to see strong activity, we are optimistic that this will help us deliver a bigger and better Newport International Boat Show in 2022.
4. We do see inventory continuing to be a hindrance for the marine industry and, thus, to our growth.
Communication Manager, OXE Marine
1. The increased interest in our products has resulted in two new production lines: one in Poland and one in the United States. During the year, we focused on transferring knowledge and equipment to the new production sites and are now ready to face 2022 with much higher capacity to meet demand.
2. As we were in the process of changing production lines, much time was already spent on optimizing the supply chain. We have had to adapt to some constraints, which has limited our production capacity at times, but as Oxe is built on a very different technology, we have not suffered as much as others.
3. It will be a year where the increased fuel cost and environmental focus will provide for an even broader user base for our products. By using biodiesel, the environmental impact is significantly reduced, lowering net carbon footprint by up to 90 percent.
4. No outboard units had been developed to sustain a high-demand or commercial user. Providing the right products to these users is a challenge Oxe is filling in the marine industry while impacting the journey toward a more sustainable and ecologically positive marine environment.
Jeffrey B. Poole
President and CEO, Siren Marine
1. Siren Marine’s strategic alliance with Yamaha has to be at the top of the list. We also announced a partnership with Hinckley Yachts, where Siren’s technology and the Siren Marine app will power Hinckley’s OnWatch vessel monitoring and service portal.
2. We’ve faced serious challenges in obtaining some parts and components needed to meet demand — as has almost everybody in the marine industry. We’ve worked hard to be nimble and streamline processes where we can to manage the situation as well as possible.
3. We are fortunate to be in a market with such strong interest and so many first-time owners joining the boating community. We also recognize that the Connected Boat revolution we’ve been predicting for years is now reality.
4. The industry must deliver a positive customer experience to ensure that these people remain boaters in a world with strong competition for discretionary time and income. Looking forward, it will be critical for the industry as a whole to be more connected. Service, warranty and dealerships need to focus on data-driven solutions from connected assets to maximize their resources and allocate them accordingly.
1. Completing the recapitalization with Centerbridge Capital and Resilient Capital Partners, which has set Suntex up for unforeseen growth over the next few years.
3.The continued interest of the general public to look for outdoor activities and, more specifically, boating as a lifestyle. As marina owners and operators, we have such an opportunity to capture these individuals by providing a great experience and keep them forever.
4. I believe the biggest challenge facing our industry continues to be attracting quality talent and the overall labor pool.
Online Content Developer, Vetus
1. Vetus has achieved its highest sales levels for 13 years. Our direct model approach to open offices in many relevant boating markets is contributing to this record sales growth.
2. We have been in a good position to act quickly and cope well with the increased demand and longer lead times. We also source a lot of components from Europe, so we are less affected by the logistics problems that are impacting the market, especially supply from Asia.
3. We are extremely positive because of a full order book of boatbuilders for the coming year and beyond. In addition, consumers are still keen to upgrade their boats, so we foresee another strong year. We view the expansion of the boating market as an opportunity for us to grow as a company and learn more about the needs of our customers so we can develop even more innovative boat systems.
4. We are predicting a fast-changing online landscape. The marine industry is still very traditional, so we must learn and move faster toward the Internet of Things. This year, we accept that it could be an issue finding the right staff members, especially technical staff.
President, Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit
1. Our strategic alliance with Siren Marine underscores Yamaha’s commitment to move engineering and development into the realm of the customer. During the third quarter, Yamaha introduced Harmo, our first complete electric boat control system, to the U.S. market. And Yamaha Rightwaters also made significant strides in 2021.
2. Teams are doing their best to get available products to market as quickly as possible. Our logistics department is working around the clock, and we are committed to providing the latest information on availability and delivery to our builders and dealers in this unstable time. It appears the industry will continue to face these challenges for quite a while.
3. The rapid evolution of connected boat technology is going to dramatically change the way our customers approach boating, and I am optimistic about Yamaha’s leadership position in the market. At Yamaha Marine, we use the term “CASE” to describe the next generation of marine products. CASE is an acronym for Connectivity, Autonomous operations, integrated Service and Electrification to describe the focus areas of deploying the technology in the effort to make boating easier.
4. I believe we will continue to face supply chain issues well into 2022. Despite the fact that all of our manufacturing facilities are operating at full capacity, shipping logistical problems consistently cause delays in getting product into the hands of boatbuilders, dealers and customers. We also face the challenge of rebuilding a pool of labor at the manufacturing plants.
Americas Operations Manager, Yanmar Marine
1. This year, Yanmar celebrated 50 years of recreational marine solutions. The milestone presented the opportunity to recognize the company’s century-long commitment to diesel innovation, alongside the achievements and innovation behind the success of the marine business.
2. We have worked with our customers and vendors on more-refined and longer-term forecasting. We are also partnering with sister companies for global shipping to make the most efficient use of container shipping.
3. By carrying out a deep-dive analysis of our market demand, we are looking forward to increasing our production capacity and continuing to optimize our organization so we can answer the high demand of the growing marine business.
4. We expect the challenges to continue with global shipping and raw materials. We are also striving to keep the customer’s expectations reasonable, without diminishing new boaters’ perception of the marine industry. We want to see the marine industry thrive and grow beyond what could be a fad or trend response to the global pandemic.
Co-Founder and CEO, ePropulsion
1. We increased our sales more than 150 percent worldwide and launched the Evo series, which equips motors with direct drive design for better performance and hydrogeneration capabilities.
2. Instead of waiting for the supply-chain constraints to go away, we made efforts to adjust our production plan to overcome the challenges. For example, we made better predictions according to the latest lead time of our suppliers, and adjusted our own production schedule.
3. We are confident that sales will grow by another 100 percent in 2022. The North American and European markets for electric propulsion continue to grow as existing boaters and those that are new to boating adopt electric engines for their green technology, better boating experience and, in some markets, electric-engine-only policies.
4. For the entire industry, the uncertainty of how Covid will continue to impact the world is an overarching challenge. In addition, how fast the supply chain, logistics and production capacity will recover is uncertain. Last, how can we encourage the global marine industry to work collaboratively to accelerate the mass adoption of electrification and green technology?
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Stingray Boats
1. We were able to continue to produce, for the most part, without a significant interruption from Covid. This is a true testament to our employees taking great care of themselves and their families. And we completed three years without a recordable incident — more than 840,000 cumulative hours.
2. We have implemented many new processes to work with our vendors and the supply chain. This continues to be a major issue into the new year.
3. We hope to see improvement in the supply chain to increase our overall efficiency and even possibly increase production.
4. Supply chain, inflationary pressures and rising costs throughout the logistics pipeline. Being able to supply our dealer network in a timely manner with inventory for retail and stock boats.
CEO, Correct Craft
1. Despite significant supply headwinds, our teams have continued to deliver a record number of products. We were able to support our industry by delivering innovative and informative Innovation and Culture summits. We stepped up our green initiatives by building two lake cleanup boats, making a solar pledge and committing to carbon neutrality by 2025.
2. We navigated through the supply-chain challenges with creativity, planning and leaning on longtime relationships.
3. Retail demand continues to be strong, and there is high awareness in the industry regarding the importance of taking care of new customers. The European retaliatory tariffs have been removed, helping that market. And technological advances are driving big changes. It is a fun time.
4. As an industry, we need to be careful not to think the tailwind we now enjoy is because we are so good. Having a “it’s different this time” mentality is dangerous. The market will normalize, and those who have not allocated their capital well during this uptick will pay a big price.
This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue.