A Closer Look at Sail America’s Future Direction
There’s no question about it, we are facing the toughest market
conditions that our industry has ever experienced. As the economy stalls,
credit markets tighten, and consumer confidence wanes, we are all very
anxious about what the future holds. Despite the current economic climate,
as an industry, we need to keep looking forward, make the most of the
opportunities that are out there, and continue to work together to
Business is slow right now, but as we look ahead there is some hope:
- Now that the election is over there is renewed optimism and more certainty. I have
heard from several boat dealers that sales activity has picked up in the past week.
- The aftermarket seems to be holding up reasonably well. It's likely that people
will hold onto their boats for longer and spend money fixing them up.
- With volatile fuel prices, sailing offers a great alternative for power boaters. We
only need to convert 5% of power boaters to sail to double the number of sailboats
that are sold.
- The population is forecast to grow by 150 million people in the next 40 years. Even
if we convert just a small percentage to sailing we could easily double participation.
- There’s plenty of opportunity with new markets; be it minorities who will represent
a larger percentage of the population in the future, women, kids, export sales, etc.
- The green movement offers great potential to promote sailing as an environmentally
- With unstable house prices, owning a sailboat is a far better investment than a second
home or vacation home.
The sailing industry has weathered storms
before, and there is no question in my mind
that it will weather this one. We may need
to batten down the hatches and put up the storm
sails, but I am confident we will emerge stronger
At Sail America, we are focusing our efforts
on how we can best serve the industry and our
members during these tough times. We are working
closely with our boat show partners to help
create the best sailboat shows in the country.
Now is the time that our members should be
taking advantage of the many cost-saving membership
benefits, including using the Discover Sailing
list or signing up for any of the affinity programs.
Sail America’s Executive Committee has
got together over the past few weeks to discuss
ways in which Sail America can offer greater
value to its members. There are some great
ideas being discussed, but in the short term
some of the areas we are working on include:
- Improved communications with members to
include conference calls, webinars, online
forums, networking events, etc.
- Facilitating communications between finance
companies, boat dealers and boat builders.
- Sharing of best practices and success stories.
- A mentor program for our newest and youngest
- Boat certification that will better address
the interests and needs of sailboat builders – particularly
those based in the EU.
Much work needs to be done, but with greater
involvement and participation by our members
I am confident that, collectively, we can all
make a difference. Please contact me at email@example.com if
you would like to get more involved in any
of these new important initiatives.