Accessories sector hops on Grow Boating train

CHICAGO – The accessories manufacturers are moving forward with a funding model that will govern their contributions to the Grow Boating Initiative, said Steve Tadd, Grow Boating director, in a recent interview.

The goal is for accessories manufacturers’ contributions to add up to $1 million per year, he stated. The new funding model goes into affect as of the 2007 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and involves a percentage of trade show and boat show revenue. IBEX is the first show during which funds will be collected.

This replaces the old Discover Boating surcharge, which raised $200,000 per year, and bumps it up to $500,000. The other $500,000 is expected to come from individual manufacturers’ contributions to the Rising Tide fund.

So far this year, accessories manufacturers have donated about $200,000 to that fund, Tadd added.

NMMA’s Accessories Manufacturers Division board of directors made the decision to adopt the new funding model at the Miami International Boat Show earlier this year.

It was this decision that opened up two positions on the Grow Boating board to accessories companies, Tadd explained. Those positions were filled this spring by Kevin Grodzki, president of Mercury Marine’s MerCruiser Business Unit, who serves as vice chairman, and Terry Carlson, president, Raymarine Inc., who serves as secretary.

Funding through engine assessment working

In related news, Tadd said Grow Boating Initiative funding through the engine assessment has been well received by the industry.

NMMA anticipated it might lose 50 or 100 members when the assessment was put in place; however, Tadd said the association has only lost a handful of members, which he called a “best case scenario.”

“We’re planting the seeds [for growth],” he commented, adding that he has to remind people to be patient. “They will have to be cultivated over the years before we see the benefit.”

Those dealers, boat builders and accessories manufacturers who don’t attract first-time buyers will have to be especially patient, he added.

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