Worried that no one will come to boat shows this year? Or stop boating and fishing? I’m not, and here’s why.
During the energy crisis of the early 1970’s, I recall seeing people lined up at gas stations hoping to buy some gas. I was one of them at times. As January and the New York Boat show rolled around, we at Johnson and Evinrude were worried that this big show would be a bust. We feared that people wouldn’t buy or use boats and outboards due to the gas shortage. We were wrong.
The New York boat show wasn’t the best attended that I had seen, but it was sure better than any of us expected. I still remember one man I visited with in our exhibit who, when asked how he felt about the energy crisis, said, “If I have to, I’ll ride my bike to work so I’ll have enough gas to go boating and fishing.” That reminds me of an old saying that goes something like this, “You can take away a man’s tools, but don’t try to take his fishing rod because then you will have a real fight on your hands.”
To some extent, I think boaters will react to the current and painful economic crisis the same way they did during the previous energy crisis that created gas shortages. Avid boaters and fishermen will continue with their favorite sport to the extent that they can. If they own a boat, are still employed, and not fearful of losing their jobs, they will be boating again this year. And that means many of their boats will need service, repairs, accessories, and some boaters will even be considering trading for a new or newer rig.
So as the boat show season is kicking off, followed by spring and warmer weather, lets go into it with a positive attitude. No question that it has been a rough downturn, financing has been tough, topped off by incredibly cold weather, even in Florida where the oranges have been freezing. (What happened to global warming?) And there will be fewer boat shows this year. But I predict that avid boaters and fishermen will turn out for the shows that are held. And the chances for sales should be much better than what the industry experienced in 2009. For those who are considering buying their first boat, make sure you have some entry level rigs to offer, and/or some clean used boats. The used boat market should be good this year.
There was a joke years ago that went, “Cheer up, things could get worse, so I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.” Well that was usually good for a laugh, but it does not have to be the case. I say, “Cheer up, things will get better!” And I believe that. For those who were buffeted in 2009 by this economic “perfect storm,” but who managed to survive, then, as the old saying goes, “Pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and start all over again” by getting back to selling with a positive attitude. “Cheer up, things will get better!”