Sportfishing interests from around the world will converge in Orlando, Fla., July 11-14 for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, widely known as ICAST. If your business has any connection to the hook, line and sinker set, this is the show to attend.
When the subject is the economy and business trends, I gravitate to numbers, percentages and the plethora of analysis over what they mean and where we’re likely headed.
I’ve been reading a lot recently about automation, creative destruction, artificial intelligence, globalization, reshoring, job loss and the like. So are you and me and my brother-in-law the boatwright going to be replaced before too long by robots? I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.
As we move into the heart of boat show season, much of the focus is on new boats and the latest technology and features that builders have packed on board. So it seems counterintuitive to suggest that builders and dealers not concentrate their marketing efforts on the latest and greatest improvements in propulsion, performance, layouts and the like.
Boats don’t like to sit for extended periods of time on the hard or in their slips. Things deteriorate faster during prolonged idleness — systems and parts stiffen, freeze, gum up and so on. Boats like to be underway.
Early this year, when the financial markets were plummeting and the “R” word was back in the headlines and in conversations, I spoke with a boatbuilder who referred to himself and his colleagues as “canaries in a coal mine.”
Going into the Miami boat shows, economic uncertainty was again in the air, ratcheted up this time by concerns about the degree to which global economic problems might weigh on U.S. growth.
Who isn’t rooting for a successful comeback from Bertram? The iconic brand was such a big part of this industry, starting in the early fiberglass years, that it seemed a shame to watch it wither away. And the deep-vee hull that Dick Bertram built his company’s smooth-riding reputation on (kudos to designer Ray Hunt) is evident in the numerous iterations found on scores of boats today.
Boats are to our industry what elephants are to a circus. They’re the big draw, the main attraction.
The waters in the waning weeks of summer were brimming with boats. Warm, dry weather in the Northeast and elsewhere brought out boaters by the score.
The conversation took place maybe a dozen or more years ago at a Trade Only roundtable meeting at the Miami boat show. We were having a discussion with industry leaders on a wide range of issues, including the ascendancy of the baby-boom generation.