National Marina Day seeks wider exposure

National Marina Day 2012 is set to launch June 9th and more than 105 marinas across 30 states have signed on to participate in the event. The event, which began in the summer of 2001, encourages marinas to open their doors and introduce the community to the boating lifestyle while generating exposure for the marina industry.

New in 2012, the Association of Marina Industries, which runs the event, told Boating Industry it sought out promotional partners to help spread the word, particularly from organizations that may not have been able to provide financial support.

"This opened up partnerships with groups such as the States Organization for Boating Access and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," said Wendy Larimer, legislative Coordinator for AMI.

Other partners for 2012 include the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, the Marine Industries Association of Central Florida Marine Recreation Association, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, the Michigan Boating Industry Association, National Get Outdoors Day and the National Safe Boating Council.

Marinas can recognize National Marina Day any way they choose, Larimer said, with events ranging from picnics and marina tours to all-day blowouts.

"It doesn’t matter to us as long as they recognize and help promote the day to bring wider exposure to the marina industry," Wendy said.

To help bring wider exposure, Discover Boating and Welcome to the Water are partnering jointly with National Marina Day this year to provide registered marinas with promotional items from the Welcome to the Water campaign and National Marina Day.

"We felt since NMD and the Welcome campaign both have goals of getting more people on the water, it was a natural and perfect fit," Larimer said. "All marinas that register their events will receive a number of promotional items from Welcome to the Water on NMD, and Discover Boating is helping promote the day through all their media outlets, which gives us much greater exposure to the public and potential boaters than we’ve ever had."

Though events can range in size, the group awards a "National Marina Day Marina of the Year" distinction to a marina whose event best promotes marinas as gateways to the boating experience. Winners of the award are given a plaque during IMBC along with the publicity and promotion that goes along with it.

Longwood, Fla., dealer BMC Boats is turning their event into a blowout, with 12 dealers and four marinas working together to do more than just promote the event by offering on-water trials at the marinas for up to three boats from each dealership.

Paula Fulton of BMC Boats told Boating Industry that BMC did a smaller event with Monroe Harbour Marina in 2011, but this year they brought the idea to the Marine Industry Association of Central Florida in March get started early on planning.

The participating marinas and dealers from the MIACF are making it a big deal, Fulton said, and focusing on the marinas to help get their names out there. As a group, each participating company is not spending very much — only $400 — to help pay for promotion of the event in addition to refreshments to be served throughout the day.

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