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Marine Five Star Dealer Certification posts superior performance results

Grow Boating
June 3, 2013
Filed under News

CHICAGO (June 3, 2013) – Marine Five Star Dealer Certification (MFSDC) unveiled new research results that show certified dealers outperformed non-certified dealers in every category of the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) survey.

Boat buyers were asked in a 2012 survey to rank their dealer’s performance in a variety of sales and service areas, including overall satisfaction, sales performance, sales personnel, sales reputation and the dealer’s ability to properly demonstrate the boat, equipment and features. In every category, customers were more satisfied with their experiences with certified dealers compared to their non-certified counterparts.

“Given today’s competitive market for leisure and recreational products, boat buyers deserve the highest level of sales and service possible,” said Terry Leitz, MFSDC director. “These latest findings show dealers who invest in Marine Five Star Dealer Certification are poised to deliver a higher level of performance than their non-certified peers, as well as enjoy the positive results of increased customer and employee satisfaction.”

Launched in 2006 as one of the core strategic programs of Grow Boating, Inc., MFSDC has more than 300 leading boat dealers throughout North America who are currently certified. MFSDC is built on a stringent set of standards to enhance the retail sales and service experience for customers, with the goal to ultimately promote and spur industry growth.

For more information on Marine Five Star Dealer Certification or the CSI survey, visit GrowBoating.org or contact Wanda Kenton Smith, Kenton Smith Marketing, at (407) 697-8055 or email wanda@kentonsmithmarketing.com

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DePaul sailing: navigating to open waters

Mallory Ewart admits that before joining the DePaul Sailing Club, she had “never even walked on a sailboat.” Five academic quarters later, however, the sophomore meticulously engages in routine set-ups prior to performing her favorite boat-leveling technique.

“It’s so much fun looking upside down at the Chicago skyline when you’re hiking,” said Ewart. “We hike on extremely windy days by holding on to the ropes and putting our feet underneath the straps inside the boat. We have to scoot to the edge and then lean back to level it.”

Officially launched in the fall of 2012, Sawyer Hopps and Sean Palizza recruited friends to help them meet membership guidelines for DePaul student organizations.

“We tried to convince our friends to join because we needed at least eight people to become a DePaul club,” said Hopps. “After we set up a booth at the Student Involvement Fair, we were able to get a few freshmen and sophomores to join, like Mallory Ewart and Amelia Lentz, who is captain of the women’s ultimate Frisbee team.”

Lentz signed up for the club even though she was already involved in the ultimate Frisbee club. Having grown up in Maryland, where 11 sailing schools are accredited by the American Sailing Association (ASA), she said that it just seemed like the “Maryland” thing to do.

Ewart and Lentz will work together as commodore and treasurer of the sailing club next year. Ewart will focus on funding opportunities and recruiting, while Lentz manages the club’s budget. Together, the two will maintain their relationship with Chicago’s Columbia Yacht Club.

“Shortly after we had enough members to be a club, we formed a partnership with the Columbia Yacht Club, which is across from Millennium Park,” said Hopps. “(The club’s headquarters) is a 100-foot red, blue, and white boat that used to be a ferry in Nova Scotia, Canada. It was brought down through the St. Lawrence River and now it’s a permanent harbor on the lake. We pay them dues every season and they let us use their boats and equipment.”

Through the Columbia Yacht Club, DePaul sailing club members have received coaching techniques, certification training, and job offers. Ewart is currently in training to become a certified sailing instructor for a group of preschoolers this summer.

Students interested in joining the sailing club can visit the club’s OrgSyc website and Facebook Page. Ewart emphasizes that prior experience is not necessary to join, and that the $150 quarterly fee is well worth the price. “We want to teach people how to sail…just for the fun of it,” said Ewart. “Next year, we plan to bring a boat to the quad for the Student Involvement Fair to get more people interested in sailing and to let them see the boats we actually use. If you have no experience in sailing, don’t worry. We will teach you. We have awesome mentors at the Columbia Yacht Club who have spent most of their lives sailing. Trust me, once you know the basics, you can sail.”


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Spring fever? Find stories in your local economy’s RV and boat sales

camping

Find stories in your region’s leisure-economy drivers.

June is designated by some entity or another (I couldn’t determine which) as National Camping Month, and if you’ve got a touch of spring fever yourself, an outdoorsy angle might be just what you need for a fresh-air look at some of your region’s leisure-economy drivers.   It’s hard to beat camping and boating stories for color and rich detail, but because they revolve around big-ticket, durable-goods purchases, and/or heavy discretionary spending in the travel realm, they can be more than fluffy seasonal pieces.  Use them to give readers a glimpse of how recreational spending (or lack thereof) translates into business and jobs for manufacturers, dealers, distributors, retailers, hospitality firms and other companies in your community. 

The Outdoor Industry Association, which represents manufacturers, retailers and many other constituents in the industry, from non-profits to consultants, says in a 2012 (PDF) report that its sector accounts for more than 6 billion jobs and $646 in direct annual revenue, plus hefty federal and state tax receipts.  Indirectly, the OIA claims, the ripple effect is far greater.  The full 20-page paper is worth a read for a quick overview of the industry segments, from snow sports to wildlife viewing.  It says the sector overall grew 5 percent per year from 2005 to 2011 despite the recession; you can compare local performance to that national benchmark.  While the membership directory is password protected, likely the media relations staff will direct you to chapters or members in your region; also take a look at the OIA’s lobbying priorities under its website’s “Advocacy” tab for leads to potential local issues, from sales tax to parks funding.  It also operates a political action group; might be interesting to see which candidates it supports in your state. 

With that as background, here are some story angles you can pursue:

Recreational vehicle sales.  Sales are up this year, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (whose website is a trove of market data including demographics, spending, etc. on motor homes, trailers, campers and the like.)  Double-digit increases so far this spring bode well for dealers, as the South Bend Tribune recently reported.  And while the manufacturers in the Indiana region home to the RV industry will benefit, as NBC News recently reported, you probably have plenty of constituents in your area, from big dealers and gear sellers like Camping World to mom-and-pop RV sellers, including used RV lots.  I’d check with people or companies that offer RV storage, as well — are fewer sitting idle this year, as owners pull them out to sell them or use them? (I’ve noticed many languishing entire summers in recent years as campers curbed their outings.)

What are trends in the size and type of motor homes and trailers being purchased?  And who’s buying — talk with dealer sales reps about any trends they are seeing; is it newly reemployed people with pent-up demand, or a preponderance spending bonus or OT checks from any particular employer, or Baby Boomers trading in the vacation condo for a modest home on wheels?  As them to connect you with recent buyers to get detailed stories.   Check out industry publications like RV BusinessRV-Pro and the online sites of consumer magazines like Trailer Life and Motor Home for other story ideas; search their sites for companies and groups related to your market.  RV.net is another consumer site; it’s discussion forum also is a source of story ideas and perhaps real people.

Campgrounds. A natural corollary to the RVing market is activity at campgrounds, both those that cater to RVs and those that appeal more to tent campers.  How are bookings so far this year.  Are people coming for long weekends, or entire weeks?  How does this ripple out to local restaurants, theme parks, activity centers and the like?  What are other trends in the sector, like the luxury camping described in this Travel Weekly article about consumers demanding more pampering and amenities – even “camping butlers” when they head back out to nature.  Camping technology or lack thereof – I see a number of plaintive user reviews saying “Nice campground but no WiFi!” is another angle you might pursue.

Boating and marinas.  Another big-ticket leisure activity that might drive spending in your area, boating apparently isn’t having as sunny a spring as RVing — this marine industry trade publication says spring sales are disappointing — a trend you can compare to sales at local marinas and among used dealers.  Note the article quotes a market research firm called Statistical Surveys; it also covers the RV industry and appears to share local data with news organizations, so probably worth a call.

 


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NCC cadets complete sailing expedition on the Ganga

Kolkata June 3 (IANS) Sixty National Cadet Corps cadets, including 15 girls, Monday completed a 19-day sailing expedition down the Ganga from Farakka in Murhsidabad district to Kolkata, covering around 430 km.

The cadets from West Bengal and Sikkim, aged between 16 and 18 years, started off May 13, in four whaler class boats.

Along the route, they halted at Raghunathganj, Baharampur, Katwa, Nabadwip, Kalna, Rishra and Dakshineswar.

On the way, the participants were imparted naval training, including sailing, boat handling, river navigation, towing. Besides, they also got a peek into the rich cultural heritage of the state.

The cadets also took part in social service activities like pulse polio immunization drive, tree plantation, cleaning of roads, literacy drive, AIDS control programme and “Save the Tiger” and Save the Girl Child” campaigns.

“At times the weather conditions were extremely difficult. We often had to manoeuvre the boats against the heavy current and tidal waves. Then our seniors taught us the tricks of overcoming the hurdles,” 18-year-old N. Swarna said.

She said there were spots where the Ganga had become “very polluted”. “We had problems in sailing. We later tried to increase awareness among the locals about river pollution and suggested steps for preventing it during our cultural programmes.”

“The aim of the expedition is to inculcate a spirit of adventure and healthy competition among the cadets, besides making them mentally and physically tough,” said an NCC officer who escorted the expedition.

“I am no more afraid of water. This expedition has given me enough confidence to face turbulences of life,” said 17-year-old Riya Sargi.

The cadets were flagged in by state West Bengal Civil Defence Minister Javed Khan at the Man of War Jetty.


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Lost access to dock forces Berkshire Community Sailing to close

PITTSFIELD — A nonprofit sailing club on Pontoosuc Lake is closing up shop.

Richard Cote, who founded Berkshire Community Sailing (BCS) in 2005, said the new private marina — The Rusty Anchor — that has opened in the former Ponterril boat house owns the land through which Cote’s members could access the sailing club docks.

Insurance liability issues prevent the new marina from allowing a third party access to the property.

To continue his operation on city land or on another location at Pontoosuc Lake would require a financial investment BCS simply can’t afford, Cote said.

So he’s liquidating all the assets and closing the club.

“There really isn’t anything doable that we can afford,” Cote said. “It would be very expensive.”

He noted that the loss of a sailing club on Pontoosuc is the end of a legacy for the area.

“There’s been a sailing club there since the early 1900s, so for the first time since then there won’t be,” Cote said. “That’s a legacy that’s hard to give up.”

Scott Graves, owner of the Rusty Anchor, said that when he first started the project last year, he hoped to be able to allow the club access to the docks. But as the project moved forward and he started investigating his insurance requirements, he discovered that allowing third parties to cross his property for boating activities could endanger his business should someone get hurt and file a lawsuit against him.

Every summer, Berkshire Community Sailing

would operate out of two trailers parked between the end of the Rusty Anchor parking area and the city park land just to the south. From there, people could rent kayaks ($10/hour), canoes ($20/hour) or sailboats to go out on the lake. The club also conducted sailing lessons.

With about 55 members, and rentals to the public, Cote said several thousand rental transactions would occur every summer.

“The whole idea was to allow families to take their kids out on the lake without breaking the bank,” Cote said. “It was never about making money.”

Linda Caesar of Pittsfield has been part of the Pontoosuc sailing community since the mid 1990s, when Ponterril was still operating the boat house.

She owns two sailboats — a 20-foot boat and a 25-foot boat. She said she is accustomed to being on the lake every day it’s not raining. But because a sailboat requires assembly every time it goes into the lake, it is impractical to haul it to the lake, spend a couple of hours putting it together, sailing, then taking it apart and hauling it home.

“Now I can’t sail at all,” Caesar said. “So I have two large boats sitting in my driveway covered by tarps.”

She is hoping someone will come up with an alternative.

Cote said he has been hearing from friends who are suggesting alternatives, but Cote won’t be the driving force in establishing a new location for a sailing club. If somebody else wants to give it a try, however, he would be happy to give them advice and help with the logistics.

“I feel bad for them (BCS), but I’m just trying to get by, too,” Graves said.

The Rusty Anchor has several members that keep their sailboats at its docks, and Graves said he plans to expand his sailboat docking capacities to attract more members with sailboats.

As for Cote, he said he hopes to wrap up the liquidation swiftly.

“There’s a bitterness about the lake for me now, so I’m anxious to get out of there,” he said. “I’m just going to exit quietly.”

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6241.
On Twitter: @BE_SStafford


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Berkshire Community Sailing to close

Monday June 3, 2013

New England Newspapers

PITTSFIELD — A nonprofit sailing club on Pontoosuc Lake is closing up shop.

Richard Cote, who founded Berkshire Community Sailing (BCS) in 2005, said the new private marina — The Rusty Anchor — that has opened in the former Ponterril boat house, owns the land through which Cote’s members could access the sailing club docks.

Insurance liability issues prevent the new marina from allowing third parties access to the property.

To continue his operation on city land or on another location at Pontoosuc Lake, would require a financial investment BCS simply can’t afford, Cote said. So he’s liquidating all the assets and closing the club.

“There really isn’t anything doable that we can afford,” Cote said. “It would be very expensive.”

He noted that the loss of a sailing club on Pontoosuc is the end of a legacy for the area.

“There’s been a sailing club there since the early 1900s, so for the first time since then there won’t be,” Cote said. “That’s a legacy that’s hard to give up.”

Scott Graves, owner of the Rusty Anchor, said that when he first started the project last year, he hoped to be able to allow the club access to the docks. But as the project moved forward and he started investigating his insurance requirements, he soon discovered that allowing third parties to cross his property for boating activities could endanger his business

should someone get hurt and file a lawsuit against him.

Every summer, Berkshire Community Sailing would operate out of two trailers parked between the end of the Rusty Anchor parking area and the city park land just to the south. From there, people could rent kayaks ($10/hour), canoes ($20/hour) or sail boats to go out on the lake. The club also conducted sailing lessons.

With about 55 members, and rentals to the public, Cote said several thousand rental transactions would occur every summer.

“The whole idea was to allow families to take their kids out on the lake without breaking the bank,” Cote said. “It was never about making money.”

Linda Caesar, of Pittsfield, has been part of the Pontoosuc sailing community since the mid 1990s, when Ponterril was still operating the boat house.

She owns two sail boats — a 20-foot boat and a 25-foot boat. She said she is accustomed to being on the lake every day it’s not raining. But because a sail boat requires assembly every time it goes into the lake, it is impractical to haul it to the lake, spend a couple of hours putting it together, sailing, then taking it apart and hauling it home.

“Now I can’t sail at all,” Caesar said. “So I have two large boats sitting in my driveway covered by tarps.”

She is hoping someone will come up with an alternative.

Cote said he has been hearing from friends who are suggesting alternatives, but Cote won’t be the driving force in establishing a new location for a sailing club, he said. If somebody else wants to give it a try, however, he would be happy to give them advice and help with the logistics.

“I feel bad for [BCS], but I’m just trying to get by too,” Graves said.

The Rusty Anchor has several members that keep their sailboats at its docks, and Graves said he plans to expand his sailboat docking capacities to attract more members with sail boats.

As for Cote, he said he hopes to wrap up the liquidation swiftly.

“There’s a bitterness about the lake for me now, so I’m anxious to get out of there,” he said. “I’m just going to exit quietly.”


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