From the Captain's Chair: Looking Forward to the Year Ahead
With 2020 in the rearview mirror and the unsettled first weeks of 2021 behind us, it is a pleasure to look forward with excitement to the year ahead. Several recent developments remind me that the marine industry is of critical importance to South Florida and the entire state.
The Marine Industry is an Asset-Class Investment
While so many industries experienced a dramatic downturn in 2020, the marine industry held its own and, indeed, flourished in the face of adversity. We demonstrated that ours was an essential industry, and our incredible workforce delivered across the board. Sales actually increased throughout last year.
All this growth did not go unnoticed by global investors. They rushed to secure their spot in the South Florida boating market via strategic acquisitions. The purchase of a majority stake in Boats Group by Permira Funds, a global investment group; Boat Owners Warehouse by a private entrepreneur; Rybovich SuperYacht Marina by Safe Harbors Marinas, LLC; and Roscioli Yachting Center by OneWater Marine, Inc. all evidence the confidence investors have in the South Florida marine industry.
As the industry stands poised to continue unparalleled growth in the years ahead, we can expect this type of continued interest from global investors and the continued classification of the marine industry as an asset-class investment.
Strength in Unity
We’re all familiar with the ever-changing landscape of South Florida boat shows. From the Miami International Boat Show moving to Key Biscayne a few years back to the Miami Yacht Show’s relocation to downtown Miami in 2019, one thing is certain – nothing stays the same. With these changes came unavoidable, but not unexpected, growing pains.
With two shows spread out across the metro Miami area during the same time, attendees felt the inconvenience of trying to soak up the offerings in disparate venues. Likewise, manufacturers and dealers faced tough decisions when allocating manpower and resources to maintain a presence at competing shows. Not an ideal situation.
Demonstrating that our industry is stronger when we stand together, Informa Markets, a global leader in producing branded events, and the National Marine Manufacturers Association, producer of the Miami International Boat Show, joined forces to combine MIB and MYS into a singular event in 2022. With Informa’s unparalleled expertise in executing world-class events, the new format of the combined shows will meet the needs of all involved.
The Numbers Look Great
Numbers don’t lie. Despite unique challenges in 2020, Florida’s marine industry remained an essential and growing component of the state’s overall economy.
The marine industry was responsible for more than 270,000 thousand jobs throughout Florida in 2020. Broward remained the statewide industry leader, representing 121,000 jobs and $9.7 billion in output. Together with Palm Beach and Dade, the tri-county area was responsible for 149,000 marine industry jobs and more than one-half the state’s total output in 2020.
With outdoor recreation making up 4.3 percent of Florida’s Gross Domestic Product, and boating representing a robust 50 percent of outdoor recreation in the state, one thing is certain. The Florida marine industry is – and will continue to be – a force to be reckoned with.
We look forward to leading the charge.
CEO/President, Marine Industries Association of South Florida