Media Events at FLIBS

Join colleagues for some networking, learning, and nourishment during lunch and breakfast events at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show.

Luncheon, Thursday October 30

BWI and Marine Marketers of America are co-producing a Thursday luncheon event on October 30 featuring Ed Cantu, Director of Consumer Insights & Planning for a major Hispanic marketing agency. His topic, “Strategies to Tap the Emerging Hispanic Market,” will include the results of a nationwide retail marine mystery shopping experience and consumer reaction to various marketing efforts.

Sponsors are Show Management and ACR Electronics. Of particular interest to journalists, ACR will present a short program and video about a couple who were rescued offshore on two separate occasions by the U.S. Coast Guard.

This well-attended annual gathering of communications professionals at the Bahia Mar Resort begins at 11:30 a.m. Advance register at www.marinemarketersofamerica.org. Current BWI and MMA members can sign up for $33; or $38 for those paying at the door and non-members.

Breakfast Social, Friday October 31

Now in its third year, ZF Marine is a proud sponsor and host of the BWI media breakfast on Friday morning at FLIBS. Everyone who’s attended in the past says it’s the best kept secret of the show. Arrive early while getting to the show is easy, enjoy a European style breakfast and some quality time with fellow scribes.

BWI members are welcome to stop by Friday October 31 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the ZF Marine booth – 1042, right beside the Engine Tent and just inside the South Gate entrance to the show at Bahia Mar. RSVP to martin.meissner@zf.com.

A llst of media events will be distributed to BWI members early in the week the show opens.

IBEX Adds Media Events

Opportunities to experience industry innovations, engage in seminars presenting boatbuilding methods and consumer issues, and network with both journalists and industry personnel are on tap for BWI members at this year’s International Boatbuilders Exposition & Conference in Tampa, FL September 30 to October 2, 2014. BWI has coordinated with show management to bring these offerings to members, most scheduled for the opening day.

To launch the conference, legendary basketball coach Bob Knight will present a motivational speech on “Winning” at the annual Industry Breakfast on Tuesday September 30. Thom Dammrich, NMMA president, will deliver the State of the Industry address followed by the presentation of four important industry awards including, The IBEX Innovation Awards judged by BWI members, the NMMA Hall of Fame Award, the Exhibitor Video Awards, and the Boating Industry Movers & Shakers Award.

“Pitch the Press” is a unique opportunity for media to meet with about a dozen exhibitors who have been chosen to briefly present a new product or service considered unique or innovative. During the one hour event, selected firms will be given 2 minutes to present their new product, or their company, followed by a 1 minute Q & A. All attending will be given a list of the presenting exhibitors plus a complete list of the Innovation Award entries for later reference and contact information. This takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. in Room 10 in the Convention Hall.

Members interested in craft improvement can utilize the IBEX seminar format. There is a wide offering of presentations that should be of interest to boating consumers (and publications that would likely want to report them). There are many potential topics ranging from boat surveys and valuation to avoiding onboard hazards, improving air and water quality aboard to adapting new land- and water-based electronics for water-based use. Educational offering are detailed at www.ibexshow.com/education-conference.php.

To wrap up the day, IBEX is staging a “Party for a Purpose” from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sail Pavilion outside the Tampa Convention Center. The event will give media a chance to network and learn about advocacy work for the boating industry while enjoying food, drinks, and entertainment. All exhibitors and attendees are invited. Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director, describes the function as, “The most social event of the show and an opportunity to learn about and get active in our industry’s critical advocacy work in Washington, DC.”

IBEX will have a working Press Room open throughout the show in Room 1 on the first floor. For those who may need lodging or other travel help, the show maintains a weblink at http://www.ibexshow.com/hotelinfo.php.

BWI members are asked to request a breakfast invitation, register for Pitch the Press and arrange seminar participation details prior to the show opening. To do so, or for questions and other media Inquiries, contact Amy Riemer, amy@riemercommunications.com, 978/502-4895.

’14 Survey: State of Boating Journalism

Boating journalists are doing a good job keeping up with the technological, product and structural changes taking place in the marine industry they cover, but there are significantly fewer writers and they are growing older and poorer in the process. (Link to complete survey here.)

This thumbnail sketch is taken from the May 2014 survey of members of Boating Writers International compared with a similar analysis made five years ago. This year, 85 of 300 Active members (those who are active writers and communicators) provided feedback; in 2009, 95 of 400 Active members provided responses. The 25 percent drop in BWI membership in that time frame is reflective of significant consolidation in both the recreational marine and boating publishing industries.

The writers report widespread participation in the shift to digital in writing, running their businesses and promoting themselves. Close to half (46%) maintain their own websites, one third are active with blogs and forums, and 18% are posting videos on line. They are engaged on Facebook (70%), LinkedIn (67%), Google (40%) and Twitter (25%).

Magazines continue to be the primary clients for the writers, noted by 79% of respondents in ’14 and 83% in ’09, while blogging and website development work increased to 40% from 27% in the same period. Other notable changes in revenue sources shifted in marketing/advertising work to 28% from 9%, videography to 17% from 10%, and book writing to 21% from 17%. Revenue reported from newsletters, editing, public relations, TV and radio decreased in the period.

The boat writing profession continues to be populated by 70% men and 30% women, little changed over the past five years. The largest age group, 38%, moved into the 60-70-year range from the 50-60-year range, now 25%, in the period. Under 50 members now total 19% while the over 70 crowd grew to 15% from 9%. Annual income generally shifted downward, reflected in 29% of the writers reporting less than $10,000, the largest category, followed by those making  $20K – $30K (9% down from 13%) and $30K – $40K (unchanged at 8%). Three other income categories increased, led by $60K – $70K to 8% from 6%. Overall, the income change from 2012 to 2013 was reported by roughly equal thirds of the members as up, down or the same.

Asked how BWI could help them to improve their endeavors, members pointed to better understanding social networking and new technologies, marketing their work to traditional and digital publishing outlets and improving their blogging potential. They also seek more information on jobs and freelancing opportunities, ways to better monetize their digital efforts, and greater networking with their peers and industry personnel.

To see more detail on the survey and answers to open-ended questions and “other” comments, click here.

Boating Affordability Issues Aired

Some of the boating industry’s most innovative thinkers shared their insights on “How to Make Recreational Boating More Affordable and Attractive” during a BWI panel discussion in February 2014. Participants were Brunswick Chairman and CEO Dusty McCoy, SunTrust Bank SVP Don Parkhurst, Legendary Marine Managing Partner Fred Pace and Freedom Boat Club CEO John Giglio.

McCoy said it can and must become more affordable, and his companies are working hard to accomplish that. “We need to have every new model cost less than the model it replaces …Over five or 10 years, that will have a real impact.” He said Brunswick companies are 70 percent along the road to reaching that goal.

Making boats more affordable requires better engineering, better sourcing, better manufacturing processes and innovation. “From our perspective, this news is good,” he said, “but it’s sobering.” The good news is people like to boat and affordability is a solvable problem.

Sun Trust Bank’s Parkhurst said it does not appear that lenders can do much to make boats more affordable: 10-, 15- and 20-year lending terms can’t be extended much more than that; rates are at historic lows and are likely to rise down the road as the Federal Reserve backs off its support of artificially low interest rates; credit terms have eased and are about where they should be from the viewpoint of sound lending practices; and money is available.

A Sun Trust study suggests that as baby boomers retire, they are selling their boats and leaving boating or buying much smaller boats. “There’s a huge demographic going on here” that is shrinking the boating market, Parkhurst said.

Pace, a partner in Legendary Marine, which has won industry awards for its innovations, said it has become increasingly difficult for boating to compete for the limited time that busy families have today. He says he focuses on keeping his customers — mostly folks who are affluent and well along in their careers — by making sure they have a lot of fun when they come down to the marina, that they get out on the water and receive consistently excellent service.

“The big holdback for the millennial generation is time,” Pace said. “We’re just not seeing them come into the market.”

Are there alternatives to boat ownership? Giglio offered that his members-only club that rents boats, attracts millennials and baby boomers. “We make it extremely easy for people to get into the market,” he said. “There’s not a big capital outlay and you don’t have to get a loan.”

It is essential give new boaters hands-on skills training, Giglio added. “We want to get people on the water and have a pleasant experience. A well-trained boater is more likely to stay in boating and move up to owning a boat.”

To read the entire post, written by Soundings’ Jim Flannery, go to www.tradeonlytoday.com/2014/02/miami-2014-panel-tackles-costs-boating/.

Writing Awards Presented for 2013

Boating and fishing journalists were recognized in Miami on February 14  in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of BWI. Presentations in 17 contest categories representing $17,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.”

A reading list with click-throughs to the top three entries in each category can be found here: https://www.bwi.org/bwicontest/2014winners.htm.

Read more

Need a Boat Writer? Use Our Directory

Need a boating or fishing writer? BWI’s Online Writers Directory continues growing with new members joining the ranks and includes more than 120 listings. It allows visitors to this website to find boating and fishing writers and communicators by name, geography, writing specialty, website, blogs – and any data that is loaded into the directory is searchable. To see the listings, click on the “Find a Writer” tab above and on the home page or the link below.

Note to BWI members and others interested: The Online Directory is a member benefit and requires input and updating by members that use it. For those who have not yet added information, a private link is needed for access and available by contacting info@bwi.org.

To see the listings, click on this link

Writing Contest Results for 2012

Top marine journalists in the U.S. and beyond  were recognized in mid-February during the Miami Boat Show in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI). Presentations in 17 contest categories representing $17,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.” Read more

Writers Webinar Series Grow to Seven

BWI’s series of educational webinars now have grown to seven, all posted on this site for viewing by members and others from the industry with interest. Click on the “webinar” tab above for access to any of  them.

Included are “How to Start a Blog for About $10,” presented by Kim Kavin; “Drive Traffic with Social Media” by Diane Byrne;  “Conducting Successful News Events & Product Introductions” by Alan Jones;  “Writer Contract & Legal Issues” by Milton Toby, chair of the Contracts Committee for the American Society of Journalists and Authors;  “Repurposing & Syndicating Your Work” by Alison Yesilciman, founder of Media Cooler Innovations; “Video Basics: Improving Your Presentations” by Ed Kukla of Starboard Films; and “How to Score Work Outside the Boating Industry” with Lenny Rudow and friends.

All of these webinars have been made possible by sponsor Dometic Marine, a supplier of dedicated systems and equipment for recreational and commercial boats.

Best Boating Stories of 2011

Top marine journalists in the U.S. and beyond were recognized February 17 at the Miami International Boat Show in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI). Presentations in 16 contest categories representing $16,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Also presented was the group’s Grand Prize Writing Award for 2010. Read more

BWI Writing 2010 Contest Winners

Top marine journalists in the U.S. and beyond were recognized in mid-February during the Miami International Boat Show in an annual writing contest conducted by the membership of Boating Writers International (BWI). Presentations in 16 contest categories representing $16,000 in awards were made to first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) place scorers. Cash award recipients also received a recognition plaque noting their “Excellence in creating compelling stories about the boating lifestyle through entertaining, educational and inspiring journalism.” Read more