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Boating Industry Challenges and Opportunities in 2021

Just like many other industries, the boating industry has seen immense but gradual growth over time. However, even with the high momentum, there are still issues that remain unaddressed. Environmental changes, people, aging boat population; are but the tip of the iceberg. Even though much is being done try tackling this problem, the main barriers remain unchanged. Here are some of the challenges.

1. Ethanol

There has been growing concern in the recreational boating industry, most commonly relating to Renewable Fuel Standard. Most people in the boating industry have complained about engines and other parts, all caused by ethanol. When gasoline is to be blended with ethanol, low octane gasoline is used. If the high octane gasoline is used, it produces 87-91 octane blended fuel. However, during phase separation, the lower octane gasoline will separate from the ethanol resulting in engine malfunctions and components’ problems. Fuel is used up quickly during phase separation, making the phase separation less of a concern. However, gradual separation still poses a risk to marine engines.

Ever since its introduction to the market, the E-15 has continued to threaten more than one hundred million boaters as well as their businesses. Detrimental effects on humans, animals, and the environment are imminent. To be on the safe side, we should encourage the use of boats that are ethanol-free.

2. Recreational Fishing

The recent past has seen several efforts implemented to ensure that everyone’s best interests are incorporated in local and national policies. As a result, angling and fishing have become somehow related to the boating industry. Ensuring that these policies positively impact the industry is a massive share of responsibility. While we try to balance marine recreational access, it is important to try still protecting resources.
With over ten million anglers spread all over the country, 70% of all boat outings have fishing as their primary aim.

3. Affordability

The cost of boats continues to skyrocket at a pace that can effortlessly outpace inflation. Compared to 2000, the price of stern dive, for example, is about 75% higher today. This can be mostly due to factors such as increased oil prices. With these factors expected to keep increasing, boat prices are also likely to be held on the upswing.

These affordability issues continue to affect all market levels. Boat-making companies have been significantly affected by this. They depend on people being able to afford their products to increase their sales and revenue. Their consumers still demand quality; they want more technology, better touch panel electronics, among others. On the other hand, the government is still increasing fuel tanks, engines, and other components. What will prevent the prices from being driven up in such a market?

4. Access Challenges

Many water bodies, not only in our country but worldwide, face the problem of dropping water levels. This is because the water supply is slowly but continuously reducing as a result of global warming. Moreover, most of the land near these bodies is privately owned. Access to water has also been regulated.

Everyone should be able to access the country’s waters freely. Government policies, however, have been put in place to balance visitors’ access with conservation. With over one hundred and forty million boaters, marine sanctuaries and parks have remained the limited but crucial access points. It would be better if federally managed waters got more maintenance for boaters around the country to enjoy.

5. Boat Coordination During the Pandemic

The Covid19 pandemic has disrupted many industries, the boating industry being no exception. This has made it infeasible for companies and businesses to run their activities as usual. Dealers, buyers, and sellers had to look for ways to adjust to the new normal, especially when it comes to social distancing. People now prefer contactless and digital transactions over the old tradition. As a result, dealers and sellers have to venture into better communication and transaction methods, from virtual communication to automated payments. First-time buyers make the process even harder for them.

The pandemic has brought with it other new challenges. Forecasting sales is a challenge, making it hard to determine inventory levels. Can they also be able to get enough staff to accommodate the rising demand while at the same time abiding by the regulations?