Sail America expands member services

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – Sail America, the trade association for the U.S. sailing industry, has expanded its range of membership services and benefits to its 500 members, it reported in a recent statement.

“We believe membership in Sail America is critical to the success and growth of the sailing market,” said Executive Director Jonathan Banks. “From boats shows to educational programs, and from industry research data to marketing campaigns that help grow the sailing market, our programs and initiatives are focused on creating an environment in which sailing-related companies can achieve greater business success.”

Expanded new member services include the addition of two new SailFest events at the Norfolk In-Water Boat Expo and the 54th Baltimore Boat Show, new marketing initiatives, access to sailing-related market research, a new Strategies for Success seminar program, new member communications tools, and the introduction of an annual sailing conference. Members also will have access to a variety of discounted services and new educational tools, such as HR and PR University.

Sail America members qualify for discounted member rates at Sail America-owned shows, and will receive various boat show privileges, including space preferences at shows, access to a members-only area, free WiFi, free trade credentials, and four complimentary boat show guest tickets to Strictly Sail shows.

For the first time, Sail America members will have access to cost-saving affinity programs, including: APPI, which saves money on energy costs expenses; Avis Member Benefits Program, which provides car rental discounts up to 20 percent; freight discounts on FedEx and ground shipping services; and Staples Business Advantage, which provides deep discounts on office supplies.

Dues to increase

Membership dues have been increased to help fund these new initiatives and to more accurately reflect the true value of membership. For many members, there will be a small increase in dues, but large companies will see a more significant increase.

“We’ve increased dues to be in line with the value we offer members and to ensure the long-term sustainability of Sail America,” said Banks. “For the past few years, Sail America has provided additional funds to support its activities,” said Banks. “We have now reached the point at which we have to be self-sufficient and fund activities through membership dues, boats show revenues, and sponsorships.”

The new member benefits package is part of a larger effort by Sail America to redefine the organization’s mission and develop a strategic plan for its future growth. At the May 11 Board of Directors meeting, Sail America President Bill Bolin said, “We all agreed that there was an important need for Sail America as the voice of the sailing industry, but we also agreed that the association needed to be more inclusive and encompass more companies that make any part of their livelihood from sailing.”

Sail America’s vision is to create a strong, profitable, and sustainable market for sailing-related products and services. Sail America’s new mission is to promote the health and growth of sailing by providing members vision, leadership, and a unified voice; targeted sales opportunities; integrated marketing programs; industry information and knowledge; the tools to achieve high standards and best industry practices.

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