Archive for » January, 2017 «

Boating industry goes after millennials with high-tech, tricked-out crafts

Updated technology on sport boats includes large state-of-the art speakers and models that come with a wristwatch that allows someone on a wake board or water skis to control the boat’s wake.

Looks matter too – many of the newer models geared toward millennials come in bold colors with sparkles and bright stripes meant to turn heads on the water.

At the same time, for younger consumers who are not yet in their prime earnings years, manufacturers are making more affordable personal watercrafts to appeal to this generation. Some water scooters start around $5,000.

Among the exhibitors at the show was SkipperBud’s, a Winthrop-based boat dealer.

“We do have millennial customers,” said Betsy Arvai, the dealer’s director of marketing. “They are just finding out that they can own a boat and live in Chicago and be able to do what they want and enjoy themselves for not so bad an entry price,” she said, pointing to a $16,000 Bayliner speedboat.

Slightly less expensive models can mean monthly payments of between $150 and $170, depending on the down payment. “I was talking to a customer the other day who said, ‘I spend $150 a month at Starbucks,’” Arvai said.

Dealers and industry watchers compare buy ing a speedboat to buying a car, with financing and low interest rates.

That’s promising for Fieser, who grew up boating near his family’s home in Hebron, Indiana.

His plan is to buy his own boat in the next 2 years or so, something faster and cooler than what his parents have, he said. He’s considering buying a boat in the $15,000 range and probably a used one, he said.

“It depends on what I can find,” he said. “Some of the bigger boat companies are coming out with boats that are more … affordable … with good technology at a good price.”

Manufacturers and dealers hope that strategy – equipping snazzy-looking boats with technology – catches the eye of more consumers like Fieser.

On some craft, iPads control lights, the speedometer, fuel gauges and other essentials. Some models are synced for Bluetooth and include extra USB plugs for passengers’ devices. And in some, a joystick is installed to make docking easier.

MasterCraft just introduced a watersport boat that will allow wake-boarders, wake-surfers and water-skiers to create or “sculpt” their own wakes from software on the boat. Still, at an aspirational starting price of $80,000, it is more likely to be purchased by parents of water-loving young people than the millennials themselves, according to Chris Sullivan, MasterCraft’s business development manager for the Northwest region.

Since 2005, the number of boat dealers in Illinois has declined 25 percent to 98 boat dealer establishments, according to 2014 census data.

The recession was crushing to the industry, according to Jeff Nielsen, sales manager at Lake Villa-based Nielsen Enterprises.

Since the election, however, Nielsen has seen a spike in sales, he said. “They are climbing. They are coming back.”


Similar news:

Boating industry goes after millennials with high-tech, tricked-out …

Updated technology on sport boats includes large state-of-the art speakers and models that come with a wristwatch that allows someone on a wake board or water skis to control the boat’s wake.

Looks matter too – many of the newer models geared toward millennials come in bold colors with sparkles and bright stripes meant to turn heads on the water.

At the same time, for younger consumers who are not yet in their prime earnings years, manufacturers are making more affordable personal watercrafts to appeal to this generation. Some water scooters start around $5,000.

Among the exhibitors at the show was SkipperBud’s, a Winthrop-based boat dealer.

“We do have millennial customers,” said Betsy Arvai, the dealer’s director of marketing. “They are just finding out that they can own a boat and live in Chicago and be able to do what they want and enjoy themselves for not so bad an entry price,” she said, pointing to a $16,000 Bayliner speedboat.

Slightly less expensive models can mean monthly payments of between $150 and $170, depending on the down payment. “I was talking to a customer the other day who said, ‘I spend $150 a month at Starbucks,’” Arvai said.

Dealers and industry watchers compare buy ing a speedboat to buying a car, with financing and low interest rates.

That’s promising for Fieser, who grew up boating near his family’s home in Hebron, Indiana.

His plan is to buy his own boat in the next 2 years or so, something faster and cooler than what his parents have, he said. He’s considering buying a boat in the $15,000 range and probably a used one, he said.

“It depends on what I can find,” he said. “Some of the bigger boat companies are coming out with boats that are more … affordable … with good technology at a good price.”

Manufacturers and dealers hope that strategy – equipping snazzy-looking boats with technology – catches the eye of more consumers like Fieser.

On some craft, iPads control lights, the speedometer, fuel gauges and other essentials. Some models are synced for Bluetooth and include extra USB plugs for passengers’ devices. And in some, a joystick is installed to make docking easier.

MasterCraft just introduced a watersport boat that will allow wake-boarders, wake-surfers and water-skiers to create or “sculpt” their own wakes from software on the boat. Still, at an aspirational starting price of $80,000, it is more likely to be purchased by parents of water-loving young people than the millennials themselves, according to Chris Sullivan, MasterCraft’s business development manager for the Northwest region.

Since 2005, the number of boat dealers in Illinois has declined 25 percent to 98 boat dealer establishments, according to 2014 census data.

The recession was crushing to the industry, according to Jeff Nielsen, sales manager at Lake Villa-based Nielsen Enterprises.

Since the election, however, Nielsen has seen a spike in sales, he said. “They are climbing. They are coming back.”


Similar news:

Other Sports: Non-fishing specific craft are dominating recreational …

A Dallas tradition, the DFW Winter Boat Expo, will be at Dallas Market Hall for a seven-day run starting Friday.

The boat show is a one-stop aquatic shopping mall where boats, boating gear and boating adventures are congregated in one large exhibition space that’s ideal for comparison shopping.

The show is not open on Monday, Feb. 6; Tuesday, Feb. 7 or Wednesday, Feb. 8. Hours are shortened on Super Bowl Sunday, which traditionally does not attract much of a crowd at the expo.

This year’s show features more than 650 new boats and watercraft models on display and available for purchase from more than 20 North Texas boat dealers. Nearly 150 vendors will feature a variety of products and experiences ranging from ski sales to sales of private lessons and summer camps.

Bron Beal, the show’s executive director, said the popularity of boats designed for family recreation has risen sharply over the last few years. He figures the sales of family recreational boats outnumber the sales of fishing boats by four or five to one.

“Paddle boats have also made a tremendous gain in popularity,” said Beal. “Kayaks, paddle boards and other smaller recreational vessels are a huge part of the Boat Expo.”

No matter where you live in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, there’s a recreational lake close by. Boating is an outdoors pastime that draws families closer together.

When my wife and I were newlyweds, nearly 48 years ago, one of our first major purchases was a new boat. It wasn’t the smartest money we ever spent but we had no children at the time, no responsibilities except to one another.

We made lots of great memories aboard that boat and we often relive the highlights spent camping on islands at Sam Rayburn Lake, waterskiing, fishing and viewing wildlife that we would not have otherwise seen. In retrospect, I’d do the same thing again.

A lot of American families apparently feel that way. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, boat sales are expected to rise between six and seven percent this year. That’s because of consumer confidence and because of the success of products aimed at attracting younger boaters.

Texas is a big part of the boating industry. Florida is the only state with a stronger boating market than Texas. In 2015, Texas sales of new powerboats, engines, trailers and accessories totaled $1.4 billion, up 8.2 percent from the previous year. And here’s a number that the new president should like — 96 percent of the boats sold in America were built in America.

My wife and I haven’t owned a boat in years, but we’re about to change that and I’ve been doing a lot of research lately to narrow our choices. We’re more into fishing these days, and there are many good fishing boats available.

We’ll probably wind up with a small, aluminum fishing boat. They’re much less expensive than fiberglass boats, and they require less outboard or electric power. A lightweight boat is easier to launch and load and also easier to tow behind a smaller SUV.

“We have definitely seen the aluminum fishing boat market go through a boom,” said Beal. “They are just as capable as their fiberglass counterparts but are less expensive.”

Beal said boat dealers really like this show because of the sales contacts they make. While sales during the show may be as high as 300 new boats, follow-up sales as the warm-weather boating season approaches often match or exceed boat show sales.

DFW WINTER BOAT EXPO

What: North Texas’ largest boat show.

When: Feb. 3-5 and Feb. 9-12.

Where: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway.

Hours: 3-9 p.m. Thursday and Fridays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. Hours subject to change.

Admission: $12 for adults, $6 for children 5 through 13.

Additional information: Online at dallasboatexpo.com.

Calendar

Sunday, Jan. 29: Duck season ends statewide.

Wednesday, Feb. 1: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department accepts largemouth bass of 13 pounds or more in its ShareLunker breeding program.

Friday, Feb. 3-Sunday, Feb. 12: Dallas Winter Boat Show at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Details online at dallasboatexpo.com.

Thursday, Feb. 9: First of four two-hour fishing seminars at Richland College called Crappie and Catfish Go To College. Seminars are taught by professional anglers. Enrollment is $89 for all four seminars — Feb. 9, Feb. 13, Feb. 16, and Feb. 23. Hours for each seminar are 7:30-9:30 p.m. Enroll by calling 972-238-6146. Details at crappieuniversity.com.

Sunday, Feb. 26: Quail season ends statewide.

Saturday, March 4: Cabela’s King Kat catfish tournament at Lake Tawakoni with weigh-in beginning 3 p.m. at West Tawakoni City Park boat ramp, 1208 East Hwy 276. Registration and other details are online at kingkatusa.com or call 502-384-5924.

Saturday, March 11-Sunday, March 12: Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival at Plano Centre with indoor and outdoor attractions. Details at txflyfishingfestival.org.

Friday, March 24-Sunday March 26: Bassmaster Classic championship tournament at Lake Conroe.


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Cobalt yacht is a luxurious wonder on the water

  • (LOREN BENOIT/Hagadone News Network)
    Hagadone Marine Group employees clean a 2017 Cobalt A40 Coupe Day Cruiser Tuesday morning. The nearly 40-foot yacht will be the largest boat ever at the Spokane Boat Show, which starts Jan. 28 and ends Feb. 4.

  • (LOREN BENOIT/Hagadone News Network)
    Adam Blair, with Hagadone Marine Group, cleans the inside of a 2017 Cobalt A40 Coupe Day Cruiser Tuesday morning. The yacht will be the largest and most expensive boat ever at the Spokane Boat Show and features an electric sunshade a hydraulic swim platform and a cabin custom wood floor.

  • (LOREN BENOIT/Hagadone News Network)
    Hagadone Marine Group employees clean a 2017 Cobalt A40 Coupe Day Cruiser Tuesday morning. The nearly 40-foot yacht will be the largest boat ever at the Spokane Boat Show, which starts Jan. 28 and ends Feb. 4.

  • (LOREN BENOIT/Hagadone News Network)
    Adam Blair, with Hagadone Marine Group, cleans the inside of a 2017 Cobalt A40 Coupe Day Cruiser Tuesday morning. The yacht will be the largest and most expensive boat ever at the Spokane Boat Show and features an electric sunshade a hydraulic swim platform and a cabin custom wood floor.

By BRIAN WALKER

Hagadone News Network

COEUR d’ALENE If riding in luxury floats your boat or at least piques your dreams Hagadone Marine Center will boast the cream of the waterscape at the Spokane Boat Show.

A 2017 Cobalt A40 Coupe yacht that retails for $862,849 has arrived here fresh from Cobalt’s manufacturing facility in Neodesha, Kan.

“It will be the most expensive boat ever displayed at the show,” said Paul Nielsen, Hagadone Marine Group’s director of sales, referring to the 63rd annual event. “It will also be the largest Cobalt ever displayed.”

“We have just one on our lake (Coeur d’Alene) that we sold last year.”

The features are mind-boggling: air conditioning, heating, electric barbecue grill, wood flooring, satellite TVs, moonroof, premium sound, sleeping quarters, sunpads with recliners, joystick drive system, digital throttle, glass cockpit and of course, weighted pillows that have no chance of flying out.

“It’s completely self-contained,” Nielsen said.

Simply put, Nielsen refers to the 40-foot, 800-horsepower cruiser that seats 15 comfortably as a “condo on the water.”

To put the price tag into perspective, the average Cobalt, one of the premier brands of fiberglass boats in the world, sells for around $80,000.

Nielsen has another way of looking at the cost.

“Nine hundred thousand dollars sounds like a lot, but try finding a condo on the north end of the lake with amenities of more than $1 million and still having to buy a boat,” he said.

Nielsen can’t wait to show the yacht off at the show, which runs Saturday through Feb. 4 at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center.

“It certainly shows our level of excellence and commitment to the Cobalt brand,” he said.

The yacht is just the eighth of its type to hit the market.

Nielsen said he wouldn’t be surprised if Hagadone Marine Center sells a couple more of the cruisers this year considering the boat market is sizzling. The company had record sales in 2016 and is expecting another record year this year.

“We definitely have folks who are interested already,” he said.

Hagadone Marine is anticipating selling its 1,000th Cobalt boat this year.

Craig Brosenne, the marine group’s general manager, said the A40 yacht will travel up to 48 mph. But, in this case, he said speed and power don’t translate to noise.

“When you get on the lake it’s remarkable how quiet it is,” he said. “The diesel is so quiet. A lot of big boats have power but are loud.”

Nielsen said the cruiser is ideal for most large lakes in the region and its low profile and bridge clearance of 13 feet, 9 inches allows for travel under structures such as the bridge at Sandpoint.

Nielsen expects the yacht will be a great conversation piece to get boaters’ blood pumping about the upcoming season.

“Interest rates are good so you can get a payment that’s reasonable and have an awesome boat,” he said, referring to boat sales in general. “The economy is stronger, Kootenai County is the fastest-growing area in the state and the lakes are the draw.”

If you go

The 63rd annual Spokane Boat Show will be held Saturday through Feb. 4 at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; noon to 8 p.m. Monday through next Friday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 4. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 12 to 17 and children under 12 are free. Parking is free and there are no advance ticket sales.


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Boating industry goes after millennials with high-tech, tricked-out crafts

Die-hard water-skier and wake-boarder Jay Fieser has his sights set on buying a boat in a few years but the super-tricked-out, six-figure models he’s been eyeing just aren’t in the 20-year-old’s budget.

Not only is this a problem for Fieser, but it’s also a challenge for the boating industry, whose typical customer is the more deep-pocketed baby boomer.

Like most consumer-driven industries, boat manufacturers and dealers are working hard to reel in that coveted 18-to-34-year-old set.

U.S. retail sales of recreational boats, marine products and services totaled $36 billion in 2015. Recreational boat sales plunged 60 percent during the recession but are now 20 percent shy of pre-recession levels, according to Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, a trade group.

Millennial boaters

Millennial boaters

Thom Dammarich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, talks about how the industry is catering to the growing segment of millennial boaters.

Thom Dammarich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, talks about how the industry is catering to the growing segment of millennial boaters.

See more videos

Boat makers want to leave those kind of numbers in their wake, and hope to do so by upgrading boat design and technology and promoting boat clubs and boat sharing to appeal to a generation that in recent surveys has shown more interest in cycling and camping than fishing and watersports.

But there’s one problem the industry acknowledges it can’t fix: Many millennials are saddled with college debt and still living at home. They are marrying and buying homes later, and some are in no rush to buy a car, much less a discretionary item like a boat. While some models can be had for as little as $15,000, prices can easily jump to $95,000 with all the bells and whistles.

That’s where boat sharing, part of the so-called sharing economy, comes in.

“What we are seeing — boat rentals, boat clubs, boat sharing — are ways that we are working to get millennials on the water,” Dammrich said. “If we get them hooked on boating now, sooner or later they’ll want to buy a boat.”

John Giglio, CEO of Freedom Boat Club, a boat sharing club with 117 locations across the country, including Chicago, has seen his millennial membership grow from 5 percent five years ago to 20 to 30 percent last year.

“Millennials in general have a rap as a group that don’t want to own anything,” Giglio said. While baby boomers are focused on ownership as a status symbol, millennials are “content with having access to boats or cars because the endgame is usage,” he added. “If they have access to it, they don’t necessarily need to own it.”

Tagged the “Uber of boats,” boat rental website Boatbound offers boat rentals in Chicago and other cities from roughly $200 per day for a fishing boat to as high as $7,500 per day for a captained powerboat, with a galley and shower, that fits up to 12.

When it does come to considering a purchase, younger buyers are discovering these aren’t their parents’ boats.

Manufacturers are creating sexier products, such as wake sport boats built specifically for an active, younger generation.

Those upgrades were on full display at the Chicago Boat, RV and Strictly Sail Show earlier this month at McCormick Place.

There was everything from $15,000 basic pontoon boats to ultra-fancy models for more than $50,000 with soft leather seats and motorized mooring covers.

Updated technology on sport boats includes large state-of-the art speakers and models that come with a wristwatch that allows someone on a wake board or water skis to control the boat’s wake.

Looks matter too — many of the newer models geared toward millennials come in bold colors with sparkles and bright stripes meant to turn heads on the water. The newest sporty model from MasterCraft has sleek silver racks meant for holding equipment such as water skis and wake boards.

At the same time, for younger consumers who are not yet in their prime earnings years, manufacturers are making more affordable personal watercrafts to appeal to this generation. Some water scooters, such as BRP’s Sea-Doo Spark, start around $5,000.

Among the exhibitors at the show was SkipperBud’s,a Winthrop-based boat dealer.

“We do have millennial customers,” said Betsy Arvai, the dealer’s director of marketing. “They are just finding out that they can own a boat and live in Chicago and be able to do what they want and enjoy themselves for not so bad an entry price,” she said, pointing to a $16,000 Bayliner speedboat.

Slightly less expensive models can mean monthly payments of between $150 and $170, depending on the down payment. “I was talking to a customer the other day who said, ‘I spend $150 a month at Starbucks,'” Arvai said.

Dealers and industry watchers compare buying a speedboat to buying a car, with financing and low interest rates.

That’s promising for Fieser, who grew up boating near his family’s home in Hebron, Ind.

His plan is to buy his own boat in the next two years or so, something faster and cooler than what his parents have, he said. He’s considering buying a boat in the $15,000 range and probably a used one, he Fieser said.

“It depends on what I can find,” he said. “Some of the bigger boat companies are coming out with boats that are more … affordable … with good technology at a good price.”

Manufacturers and dealers hope that strategy — equipping snazzy-looking boats with technology — catches the eye of more consumers like Fieser.

On some craft, iPads control lights, the speedometer, fuel gauges and other essentials. Some models are synced for Bluetooth and include extra USB plugs for passengers’ devices. And in some, a joystick is installed to make docking easier.

MasterCraft just introduced a watersport boat that will allow wake-boarders, wake-surfers and water-skiers to create or “sculpt” their own wakes from software on the boat. Still, at an aspirational starting price of $80,000, it is more likely to be purchased by parents of water-loving young people than the millennials themselves, according to Chris Sullivan, MasterCraft’s business development manager for the Northwest region.

Since 2005, the number of boat dealers in Illinois has declined 25 percent to 98 boat dealer establishments, according to 2014 census data.

The recession was crushing to the industry, according to Jeff Nielsen, sales manager at Lake Villa-based Nielsen Enterprises.

Since the election, however, Nielsen has seen a spike in sales, he said. “They are climbing. They are coming back.”

Becky Yerak contributed.

crshropshire@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @corilyns


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Fire At Richmond Auto And Boat Store

LEXINGTON, KY (Lex  18) – The family of a homeless man given the shirt off another man’s back said he died in the frigid cold weather. Despite their sadness, family members said they’re grateful someone cared enough to help.  Three weeks ago at Paris Pike and I-75, an act of kindness towards Johnny Adams caught the eye of those driving by.  In the freezing cold, those nearby watched as a stranger got out of his car and gave Adams the sweatshirt he was wearing, along …


Similar news:

Non-fishing specific craft are dominating recreational boat sales

A Dallas tradition, the DFW Winter Boat Expo, will be at Dallas Market Hall for a seven-day run starting Friday.

The boat show is a one-stop aquatic shopping mall where boats, boating gear and boating adventures are congregated in one large exhibition space that’s ideal for comparison shopping.

The show is not open on Monday, Feb. 6; Tuesday, Feb. 7 or Wednesday, Feb. 8. Hours are shortened on Super Bowl Sunday, which traditionally does not attract much of a crowd at the expo.

This year’s show features more than 650 new boats and watercraft models on display and available for purchase from more than 20 North Texas boat dealers. Nearly 150 vendors will feature a variety of products and experiences ranging from ski sales to sales of private lessons and summer camps.

Bron Beal, the show’s executive director, said the popularity of boats designed for family recreation has risen sharply over the last few years. He figures the sales of family recreational boats outnumber the sales of fishing boats by four or five to one.

“Paddle boats have also made a tremendous gain in popularity,” said Beal. “Kayaks, paddle boards and other smaller recreational vessels are a huge part of the Boat Expo.”

No matter where you live in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, there’s a recreational lake close by. Boating is an outdoors pastime that draws families closer together.

When my wife and I were newlyweds, nearly 48 years ago, one of our first major purchases was a new boat. It wasn’t the smartest money we ever spent but we had no children at the time, no responsibilities except to one another.

We made lots of great memories aboard that boat and we often relive the highlights spent camping on islands at Sam Rayburn Lake, waterskiing, fishing and viewing wildlife that we would not have otherwise seen. In retrospect, I’d do the same thing again.

A lot of American families apparently feel that way. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, boat sales are expected to rise between six and seven percent this year. That’s because of consumer confidence and because of the success of products aimed at attracting younger boaters.

Texas is a big part of the boating industry. Florida is the only state with a stronger boating market than Texas. In 2015, Texas sales of new powerboats, engines, trailers and accessories totaled $1.4 billion, up 8.2 percent from the previous year. And here’s a number that the new president should like — 96 percent of the boats sold in America were built in America.

My wife and I haven’t owned a boat in years, but we’re about to change that and I’ve been doing a lot of research lately to narrow our choices. We’re more into fishing these days, and there are many good fishing boats available.

We’ll probably wind up with a small, aluminum fishing boat. They’re much less expensive than fiberglass boats, and they require less outboard or electric power. A lightweight boat is easier to launch and load and also easier to tow behind a smaller SUV.

“We have definitely seen the aluminum fishing boat market go through a boom,” said Beal. “They are just as capable as their fiberglass counterparts but are less expensive.”

Beal said boat dealers really like this show because of the sales contacts they make. While sales during the show may be as high as 300 new boats, follow-up sales as the warm-weather boating season approaches often match or exceed boat show sales.

DFW WINTER BOAT EXPO

What: North Texas’ largest boat show.

When: Feb. 3-5 and Feb. 9-12.

Where: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway.

Hours: 3-9 p.m. Thursday and Fridays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. Hours subject to change.

Admission: $12 for adults, $6 for children 5 through 13.

Additional information: Online at dallasboatexpo.com.

Calendar

Sunday, Jan. 29: Duck season ends statewide.

Wednesday, Feb. 1: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department accepts largemouth bass of 13 pounds or more in its ShareLunker breeding program.

Friday, Feb. 3-Sunday, Feb. 12: Dallas Winter Boat Show at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Details online at dallasboatexpo.com.

Thursday, Feb. 9: First of four two-hour fishing seminars at Richland College called Crappie and Catfish Go To College. Seminars are taught by professional anglers. Enrollment is $89 for all four seminars — Feb. 9, Feb. 13, Feb. 16, and Feb. 23. Hours for each seminar are 7:30-9:30 p.m. Enroll by calling 972-238-6146. Details at crappieuniversity.com.

Sunday, Feb. 26: Quail season ends statewide.

Saturday, March 4: Cabela’s King Kat catfish tournament at Lake Tawakoni with weigh-in beginning 3 p.m. at West Tawakoni City Park boat ramp, 1208 East Hwy 276. Registration and other details are online at kingkatusa.com or call 502-384-5924.

Saturday, March 11-Sunday, March 12: Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival at Plano Centre with indoor and outdoor attractions. Details at txflyfishingfestival.org.

Friday, March 24-Sunday March 26: Bassmaster Classic championship tournament at Lake Conroe.


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Fire At Richmond Auto And Boat Store – LEX18.com | Continuous …

LEXINGTON, KY (Lex  18) – The family of a homeless man given the shirt off another man’s back said he died in the frigid cold weather. Despite their sadness, family members said they’re grateful someone cared enough to help.  Three weeks ago at Paris Pike and I-75, an act of kindness towards Johnny Adams caught the eye of those driving by.  In the freezing cold, those nearby watched as a stranger got out of his car and gave Adams the sweatshirt he was wearing, along …


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Mark’s Marine: Fishing seminars add value for boat sales

Mark’s Marine, Inc. has been hosting fishing seminars for a few years, and they have been incredibly popular with its customer base. These informal classes help fishing enthusiasts learn how to use their fishing boats – which Mark’s Marine sells – better and more often.

Now, the seminars have grown so much that Mark’s Marine doesn’t promote them anymore, because the 150-some attendees who come through word-of-mouth or experience in previous seminars fill out the showroom space Mark’s Marine uses.

The seminars are scheduled to run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., though they usually go well past the end time. The seminar is broken into two parts with a 15-minute refreshment break in the middle and two QA sessions. A small stage with speakers, mics and a Powerpoint presentation are set up for the presenter. On each attendee chair is a speaker handout, store accessory catalog and a feedback form. The feedback form allows the dealership to get ideas for new topics and to see how attendees heard about the event. At this point, about half of the attendees have attended a seminar in the past and half are brand new. Parents will bring their children in and get them involved in the fishing lifestyle.

After building a training room for 30-40 attendees, Marks Marine eventually moved the seminars to the showroom due to increased attendance.

After building a training room for 30-40 attendees, Mark’s Marine eventually moved the seminars to the showroom due to increased attendance.

“I think the secret to it is changing up what the topics are and the speakers, so you don’t just have the same talks every year,” said Aaron Thykeson, parts and accessories manager at Mark’s Marine. “They get excited about the fishing and to learn how to fish, and there’s a lot of new boat owners that I think recognize that they don’t really know how to fish and it is more technical than they’re probably comfortable with.”

The topics are different for each seminar and alternate every other year: one year may be fish-specific seminars like salmon or lake trout, and the other year is water-specific seminars discussing regions and area lakes.

The dealership has built relationships with local fishing clubs and area experts, which helps feed a steady flow of speakers for the seminars.

“Most of them – in fact, all of them – are willing to volunteer their time so there’s no cost to us to have them speak. I think, particularly with fishermen, within certain bounds they’re eager to share their knowledge and help people catch more fish,” said Thykeson. “They might not say where their personal fishing holes are, but at least technique wise they’re willing to convey that information.”

Seminars are held in the spring, when the fishing weather is lousy in Northern Idaho, and Mark’s Marine has discussed adding a fall series.

“They have been a really great fit with our customer base and region.  We’re a little bit laid back here in North Idaho so this gives us a good opportunity at building our local community and is part of the reason why we get repeat customers boat after boat,” said Thykeson.

The dealership is careful to not make the seminars a selling event, pushing product on customers. However, the catalogs are readily available and if a speaker will be discussing a certain rig or piece of gear, Mark’s Marine will be sure to have the components prominently displayed. Thykeson says that’s the key to hosting seminars: make product available, but don’t host a two-hour commercial.

Depending on the size of the audience, Mark’s Marine will offer two or three brown-bag prize giveaways during the seminar. The dealership’s two suppliers – Diversified and U.S. Distributing – donate small fishing-related prizes, and some speakers will donate lures or other gear. Mark’s Marine also adds t-shirts and other brand merchandise.

At the end of the annual series, Mark’s Marine will host a larger giveaway for all attendees of the season’s seminars.

The total cost for the dealership is the cost of its prizes, the time and energy of the salaried employees organizing the seminars, and the treats provided during breaks. And in some cases, treats aren’t a cost because attendees bring goodies to share – and even get competitive.

“It gives us a social get-together at a time of year where everyone else has pretty much hunkered down. It gets the fishing community in one place to gather together,” said Thykeson.

The seminars are also a value add for customers looking to buy a boat, especially for those new to the sport. Thykeson said the seminars have directly sold the dealership boats and rig jobs that have already been purchased. He also noted how important the seminars are to keep boaters using those boats and staying in the lifestyle.

“Fishing is a community event. If the fisherman does not use the product, he will find another hobby to get into. Too many of our new fishing customers are inexperienced. It helps get them energized and excited about the fishing product and the goodies they can rig on the fishing boat to get the most out of it,” he said. “As a major rig shop, that helps us to sell a lot of rigs and to hopefully get those fishing boat deals that might have gone to a lower-priced competitor down the road.”


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Forget post-holiday sales: Find the best deals at local boat shows …

(BPT) – Post-holiday sales aren’t the only deals to be found during the winter months. Starting in January, boat shows take place across the country. They offer some of the best pricing and incentives of the year — a major draw for the millions of Americans who take to the water each year on more than 12 million boats in the U.S. , according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. For those ready to plan their summer fun, boat shows are often the place to start.

Whether it’s fishing, sailing, cruising, riding personal watercraft, wakesurfing or tubing — boat shows have it all and create a unique shopping experience with hundreds of boats are under one roof to board, browse and buy. However, most people don’t know about the special pricing, incentives and perks these events offer.

Discover Boating, the national awareness program to help get people on the water, offers five tips to find the best deal at your local boat show.


* Find your virtual dreamboat. Before visiting a boat show, you’ll want to know which boats to shop. Start your search online with DiscoverBoating.com’s Boat Selector to identify which boat types fit your lifestyle, interests, and budget. Plug in your preferences for on-water activities, number of passengers, boat length, price range and propulsion, to narrow down boat options before heading to your local boat show.

* Warm up with hot deals. Unlike auto shows, boat shows are the place to buy. Hundreds of new-year models are available to buy right at the show, often at some of the best prices of the year as exhibitors generally offer special show pricing or other incentives. Plus, it’s the perfect time to order a new boat to ensure it arrives ready to launch in spring.

*Make the most of show pricing. It helps to know what fits in your budget before shopping a show. Use this boat loan calculator on DiscoverBoating.com to estimate monthly payments, which can be as low as $250 a month or less.


* Try out the boating lifestyle. Boat shows are a great place for beginners to learn about boating and for more experienced captains to hone their skills, plus they offer lots of fun and interactive activities for the whole family. Look for boat shows that offer knot-tying, DIY boat maintenance, a sailing simulator, remote control docking ponds, virtual boating simulators, paddlesports pools, fishing for kids and much more. It’s not only fun to learn new skills, but smart to take advantage of the onsite training boat shows offer usually at little to no cost. Plus, it’s a great place to meet other boaters as many make their local boat show a winter rendezvous.

* Look for the seal of approval. When shopping for a boat at a show, online or at a dealership, always check to make sure it is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. An “NMMA Certified” seal means a boat has met strict industry standards for safety, construction and federal regulations, ensuring the best quality to the buyer. Look for the NMMA certified sticker near the helm.

Boat shows not only offer the best deals of the year, but they are also a way to learn how to get on the water,  while enjoying a taste of  summer boating during the off season. Visit DiscoverBoating.com to find a boat show near you, a list of certified dealers and manufacturers, and unbiased advice for getting started in boating.



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