Marina Segment Finds Its Voice

Three top boating associations are answering the call for boating brotherhood with recent actions that could result in fewer trade shows and better focus
The Marina Operators Association of America (MOAA), International Marina Institute (IMI) and American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA) got together to organize the National Marina and Boatyard Conference and Exposition at the Radisson Bahia Mar Beach Resort, October 27-30, immediately before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
As with every first-time event, organizers walked away with suggestions for improvements. However, the event as a whole was deemed a success by organizers and attendees alike.
It wasn’t simply the event that was successful — the three groups found their working relationship to be so strong that during the conference, they pledged to seek out future collaboration.
Marina sector growing up?
This collaboration is a sign that the marina sector of the industry is “growing up,” said one attendee.
At the very least, the marina and boatyard sector of the industry has come together under leadership that understands and values the strength in a single voice.
As a result, marinas and boatyards are more likely to be included in the discussion and decision-making process that drives the industry, suggested organizers Jim Frye, MOAA executive director; Tim Timpson, IMI president; and Mark Amaral, ABBRA managing director.
This inclusion becomes increasingly important as threats to boating access continue to mount because marinas and boatyards are the access providers for boaters, the leaders pointed out.
Industry acknowledges power of collaboration
The industry already seems to have recognized the power of this combined voice, as well as the event itself. The organizers said they have been asked by both “the manufacturers’ group and the dealers’ group” to collaborate with their fall events. However, they emphasized the need to “preserve the chemistry that we have created in this cooperative effort.”
The three leaders said that while the invitations were of interest to them, they will move cautiously to add other groups to the mix.
They did admit, however, that their success may serve as a model for other trade groups to “work cooperatively, pooling expertise and limited resources to best serve their memberships and the industry.”
— By Liz Walz

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