From the Captain's Chair: Building the Foundation for a Successful Future
The annual MIASF Board of Directors elections are underway. We’ve got a lot of great candidates to consider this year who together offer a robust blend of seasoned and emerging leadership in the marine industry. All are highly qualified and well-positioned to lead us into the future while respecting the past.
If you have not yet voted, please do so by the deadline – 12:00PM on April 19. If you are eligible to vote, you should have received an email with instructions for casting your vote for each of the five seats opening. Please be sure to respond on time so your voice can help chart the course of MIASF for the upcoming year.
The Palm Beach International Boat Show wrapped up at the end of March. Despite the rising global instabilities, the show was well attended and, even more encouraging to note, people are still buying boats. Of course, external global pressures – both economic and social – continue to impact all industries, and ours is no exception.
Since many of these factors are well beyond our collective control, our industry focus must turn inward. One goal we can directly impact is to ensure that the 35% of new boat buyers who joined our ranks in the past few years continue to enjoy boating. We want to minimize attrition while simultaneously focusing on continued growth momentum.
How can we do this? By providing these boaters with an exemplary ownership experience through great customer support and service. A happy boat owner stays on the water and tells and shows their friends about this amazing lifestyle. Word of mouth is our strongest ally in these times.
The MIASF also spent time in March hosting an educational cryptocurrency panel discussion that featured Chris Smith of Summit Global Strategies, Rob Petrosino of Peak Activity, Bob Denison of Denison Yachting, and Michael Fisch of TradeStation. We had a lively discussion about how as an industry we can integrate cryptocurrency safely into our businesses and what future regulations on this digital currency might look like.
With the U.S. government poised to provide $80 billion dollars for the expansion of the Internal Revenue Service, crypto regulation appears imminent. The time is now to understand the basics of the crypto market, so we are well-positioned to respond to future developments. This event was one step in that direction.
One upcoming event of note is the United States Coast Guard Foundation Dinner on April 22, 2022. This Tribute to the Seventh Coast Guard District will be held at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and will see sitting admirals from the Seventh District and Washington, D.C. in attendance, along with local dignitaries, and marine industry leaders.
While the Seventh District covers a wide swath of sea – over 1.7 million square miles stretching from South Carolina to Puerto Rico and much of the Caribbean basin – it also governs local interests like the New River and marine transportation throughout South Florida. This event gives us an opportunity to interact with key decision-makers in a relaxed setting. I encourage everyone to attend and consider sponsorship of this important event by buying a table or reaching out to us for individual seat.
And finally, with the bridge vs. tunnel debate still going strong, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind everyone that “no build” is simply not an option. All of Broward County wants to solve the transportation issue over the New River and Broward Boulevard, but few are taking concrete steps towards a solution.
While the math looks straightforward (we can build three bridges and still have hundreds of millions left over versus a tunnel option), let’s be aspirational about what a bridge could look like. The debate rages on with little regard to the concrete criteria FDOT has in place to neutrally evaluate options. If leaders recognized and followed FDOT’s fact-based data, we’d be years closer to a working solution for all residents.
The risk we run with inaction now is very real. Any one of the many Florida projects vying for FDOT’s funding and resources will step up and embrace FDOT’s methodology to receive both the money and manpower for their projects. When that happens, Broward County could lose out and be set back 20 years. This is a scenario none of us in the community want to see.
The time is now for fact-based action.
CEO & President