At the Helm: Protecting our playground

By Adam Quandt

It’s no secret that nature is our playground. Not just to the marine industry alone, but to our larger outdoor recreation ecosystem. Thus, it should be a no-brainer for all of us across the industry to play a role in protecting and preserving that playground for generations to come.

According to data collected by the United Nations, without concerted efforts, coastal eutrophication – excessive richness of nutrients in water due to runoff from the land, which causes increased plant life leading to lack of oxygen for animals – is expected to increase in 20% of large marine ecosystems by 2050. On top of that, the U.N. reports that roughly 80% of marine and coastal pollution originates on land.

From organized conservation efforts to adapting new strategies in manufacturing, the recreational boating industry can band together to make a difference in the places that so many of us – and most importantly your customers (current and future) – enjoy life on the water.

With the help of rapidly increasing innovation, the tides are certainly changing on the sustainability front when it comes to the recreational boating industry. Major manufacturers are revamping facilities to utilize alternative power sources like solar, among many other changes across the board to help minimize their impact on the environment. Dealers are organizing conservation efforts to instill the sustainable mindset in their customers.

Aside from efforts within the manufacturing process and the organized efforts of conservation groups, technology is allowing the boating industry to explore some of the newest ways to get sustainability efforts down to the customer level. Though there still may be a way to go, the increasing achievements across manufacturers in alternative propulsion, fuels and technologies are providing a glimpse into a new era of boating. One that is aimed at the next generation of boaters, as consumers place more and more importance on sustainability and environmental care.

In late 2021, Nielsen Consumer Research reported that 75% of Millennials – those born between 1981-1996 – are eco-conscious to the point of changing their buying habits to favor environmentally-friendly products. This, along with the majority indicating that they are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products versus cheaper competitors.

We as in industry know what time on the water can do for a person, family and friends. We know the joy of seeing someone experience a day on the water for the first time. We see the importance of a family member passing down the “best secret” to fishing. And so on. It’s on us to come together as industry and put in the work to ensure that the playground nature has provided us for these experiences is there for many lifetimes beyond us. 

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