Marine Industry Day Leverages Marine ‘Brand’ June 26, 2014

Ask just about anybody what “Coke” is and it’s a good bet they’ll say a refreshing soda; almost everybody knows “Levi’s” is a tough pair of jeans. On or near the water, enthusiasts will likely describe “Sea Rays” as power cruisers and “Rangers” as bass boats. Beyond household names like these, I’d suggest the moniker of “South Florida” stirs thoughts of a boating lifestyle, world class sales and services to clients both domestically and international. This is a recognition and reputation worth heralding for all of us in the marine industry.

The collective “we” have done a fair job of keeping South Florida on the minds of the regional and global boating community over time. But I feel we can do an even better promotional, and rewarding, job in raising the recognition bar by working together, or putting on our “industry hat” occasionally in addition to our “brand hat.” Doing this can give us power to get things we want done and more effectively spread the word on the most unique marine industry hub in the world.

Coming together and building a strategic vision immerses us with the key planners considering trains, marinas, hotels and convention centers and other expansions on the drawing boards. Imagine including our input at the table when decisions are being made about shoaling on the Intracoastal Waterway, recommending stern-to docking in front of the Convention Center, or attracting 10 or more 200-foot vessels to our region each year!

We often talk about the economic importance of our industry citing the 107,000 jobs and 5,500 businesses and generation of nearly $9 billion in revenue across Florida, the bulk of which is based in our Tri-County area. We are of equal size to tourism in Fort Lauderdale, five times larger than cruises based in Broward and on par with citrus statewide.

Putting actual faces and families and aspirations on the marine economic numbers gives them greater impact. We’re doing just that with the recent Marine Industry Day activities including the press conference spotlighting these jobs on June 11th at NOVA Southeastern Oceanographic Center and Bahia Mar, how to find and train for them and our expectations for a continuing vibrant market. That was followed by the industry Social on the River, on June 14, where our varied workforce of welders to brokers to chefs to bankers and their children came together to celebrate and take on human dimensions while enjoying live music and children events.

We can continue this awareness and have a greater role in guiding our future by working together and speaking with a unified voice whether we are in Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. We can broadcast this true message of economic strength, of the vibrant marine community, of workers in it and families supported by it. Each of us can take part in this by building our individual and communal brands and remind the broader community that we are here and we are important.

Gain additional details on these subjects in this newsletter by visiting and be sure to check out this 10-point checklist of ways to secure the marine industry’s leadership position. You can reach me at

Phil Purcell is the executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.

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