From the Captain's Chair: Takeaways from a Truck
The Miami International Boat Show is back, kicking off Feb. 16 – 20, 2022. One of the country’s oldest boat shows, this year’s show is returning to its original home at the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. The move back from Dinner Key eliminates traffic snarls across the Biscayne Causeway, surely a welcome relief for anyone driving in the area.
Attendees will also enjoy a better overall experience with all show venues within walking or easy shuttle distance from the convention center. Attendees can walk to Pride Park or hop on convenient shuttles to One Herald Plaza, Sea Isle Marina, Museum Park Marina, and the IGY Yacht Haven Grande at Island Gardens.
MIASF had the pleasure of hosting a pre-show luncheon on January 26th. The sold-out event was hosted at Briza on the Bay, where 110 guests were informed about details of the upcoming event. Guest speakers Larry Barryman of Informa Markets, with also Randy Field an his team at Informa, and Paul Flannery of the IYBA discussed NMMA and IYBA’s work to unite the show under one banner, and shared details about the new show transportation system, the PR plan, activated sites, and what attendees can expect at this year’s show. Thank you to our speakers and all who attended.
The upcoming boat show coupled with a recent personal purchase has me reflecting on opportunities our industry has to expand its customer base. For a long time, boat manufacturers have focused on “bigger and better” when designing their latest offerings. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 20’ runabout or a 50’ yacht, we as an industry have been cramming more and more amenities into every vessel coming off the assembly line.
While this strategy appeals to a certain consumer, it is a far cry from our industry’s early days when visionaries like Orin Epson came up with the basic “boat, motor, trailer” concept. His belief was that boating should be within reach of consumers at all economic levels, not just the elite. I believe this approach is still viable today, and I’ve seen evidence of it in other industries – particularly automobiles.
I recently placed an order for a 2022 Ford Maverick. This entry-level pick-up (with an MSRP of less than $20K) has all the essentials a truck owner needs – and none of the extra bells and whistles. It hearkens back to and honors Henry Ford’s original goal to “build a motor car so low in price that no man will be unable to own one.” That’s exactly what Ford has done with the new Maverick.
I see opportunity for the marine industry to embrace this mindset. Let’s put less of an emphasis on status and more on humility and utility. Let’s build boats that are within reach of the everyday boating enthusiast. The bells and whistles will still be there for those who want them, of course. But why not inspire those with smaller wallets to believe they, too, have the means to own a boat?
We are a creative industry with visionary leaders poised to embrace this paradigm shift. Whether it’s leveraging the power of 3D printing or other imaginative ways to design and manufacture more affordable, entry-level vessels, I am confident our industry can rise to this challenge. If Ford can do it, so can we.
In other MIASF news, we are proud to share that the 2022 apprenticeship class kicked off on January 6th. Total enrollment is up 35% from 2021, with 23 students joining the program this year. Sponsorship is also up by a full 50% from last year, with 18 companies on board as participating employers.
As proof that the apprenticeship concept is working, four of the new students were hired by sponsor companies after inquiring directly about the program. This is another indicator that the marine industry is open for business and hiring. We’re very excited to see this program come into its own.
Finally, I want to recognize our top-notch, forward-thinking team and some of their recent personal achievements. Despite a housing market that is tougher for buyers than any in recent memory, Megan Piggott, Director of Marketing & Workforce Development, has taken the big step of becoming a first-time homeowner. Her tenacity and perseverance in finding a suitable property in such a competitive market is in line with the way she approaches her role at MIASF. We are grateful to have her as part of our team and heartily congratulate her on this major accomplishment in her early 20s.
Noah Dermody, Director of Membership & Events, also recently scored a big housing win. After relocating back to south Florida in 2021, he faced the same challenges as everyone else searching for affordable rental housing in the area. We congratulate him on finding a great apartment after a tough, two-month search. His new place also happens to be close to the MIASF offices. Well done, Noah.
See you at the boat show.
CEO & President