Marine Marketing in a Coronavirus World

Soundings Trade Only
April 9, 2020

What appeared to be a promising year based on early season boat show attendance, orders and consumer confidence came to a crashing slide in many parts of the world with the advent and rapid spread of coronavirus.

In today’s coronavirus environment, we’ve all had to learn and adapt to new vernacular including “social distancing” and “shelter-in place” among others. Many of us have moved from daily commutes to the workplace to now operating within home-based epicenters. The art and science of communication has radically shifted gears and we’re all struggling to navigate with new rules, boundaries and protocols.

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Offshore Sailing School Launches #DocksideChatswithSteve on Social Media Channels

Offshore Sailing School Launches #DocksideChatswithSteve on Social Media Channels

Offshore Sailing School founders Steve and Doris Colgate are producing self-made #DocksideChatswithSteve from their home on the Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida, for a little sailing-oriented entertainment to those who may also be homebound during the COVID-19 crisis. These short vignettes are based on the couple’s sailing experiences over the past 56 years of owning and operating Offshore Sailing School. Based in Fort Myers, Fla., the company has taught more than 150,000 adults and families how to sail and powerboat safely and confidently. The stories the Colgates are sharing will be featured in their memoirs to be published in 2021.

“We’ve sailed and raced boats, and hosted more than 100 sailing vacations for our graduates, all over the world. The sailing lifestyle continues to bring us so much joy. And I’m so hopeful that those who watch the series will be inspired to get out on the water as soon as possible when current tensions ease,” company Chairman Steve  Colgate said.

The series began on March 30 and new episodes will premiere every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the company’s Facebook page for the next several weeks, These stories will also be shared on Offshore Sailing School’s Instagram,, twitter,, and YouTube Channel. The company’s YouTube Channel, contains many educational and instructional videos on learning to sail, race and bareboat charter, along with video recaps of special events, corporate team building activities, and profiles of the six resort locations where the company operates sailing schools, four on Florida’s Gulf Coast and two in the British Virgin Islands. Offshore Sailing School offers every level of US Sailing and US Powerboating certification, from Basic Learn to Sail, to Performance Sailing, to Bareboat Charter Cruising, Navigation, and Passage Making.

MarineMax Creates New Customer Experience Platform

MarineMax Creates New Customer Experience Platform,
Led by Boatyard Founder Nathan Heber

MarineMax recently announced the acquisition of pioneering Boatyard digital platform to transform the boating customer experience, creating a new way for boat owners to enjoy their passion, wherever and whenever they want. Built around the Boatyard acquisition, the new MarineMax Customer Experience Platform will be led by Boatyard Founder and CEO Nathan Heber, who will become President of Boatyard at MarineMax.

Shawn Berg, MarineMax Chief Digital Officer, said, “As a customer-centric company, we believe utilizing technology to enhance our boat owners’ experience by saving them time and allowing for easier and more efficient access to products and services can truly change the industry. This Customer Experience Platform enhances the ownership experience by removing friction from the boating experience, making it accessible and easy for people to enjoy the boating lifestyle. Nathan and his team bring tremendous leadership, passion and drive and we are excited to partner with him to further develop new product capabilities.”

The disruptive Boatyard digital platform seeks to eliminate the confusion, guesswork and stress of boating, making it accessible and easy for customers to have an exceptional experience. The Boatyard digital platform will include an expansive range of on-demand services to streamline the boating experience by qualified service providers with only a few clicks on a smartphone. Named to Boating Industry Magazine’s “Top Products of 2015” list, the Boatyard digital platform enables boat owners to take back their free time by curating the best services and offering excellent communication to ensure users always receive an exceptional experience.

MarineMax Online Boat Shows Continue to Produce Results

In December 2018, MarineMax tried something new. The event was called “Virtual Yacht Expo,” but there wasn’t a single yacht on display. Instead, an online platform was designed to “display” yachts from across the country. Anyone anywhere could log in any time and visit the Virtual Yacht Expo.

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Sea Tow Foundation Announces Inaugural Winners of “National Boating Industry Safety Awards”

The Sea Tow Foundation recently announced winners of its inaugural National Boating Industry Safety Awards at the Elevate Summit in Orlando. The awards were sponsored and judged by the newly established National Sober Skipper Advisory Council and funded through a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund which is administered by the U.S. Coast Guard. They were established to recognize the best boating safety work in the for-profit sector of the recreational marine marketplace occurring within the United States.

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Teakdecking Systems Announces New Partnership with The Nature Conservancy

Teakdecking Systems (TDS), the world’s premier manufacturer of teak decking has launched a campaign to conserve Myanmar’s biological and cultural assets, and to restore forests, by donating $50,000 to The Nature Conservancy. TDS is committed to increasing awareness of this important campaign to colleagues and customers in the marine market and is facilitating methods for donation to supporters of this important and necessary effort in Myanmar.

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Kenton Smith & DeMartini win Kicker Marine Audio Marketing Account

MMA members Marilyn DeMartini of PR Power and Wanda Kenton Smith of Kenton Smith Marketing jointly pitched and recently won the national Kicker Marine Audio marketing account. The twosome are actively engaged in marketing/media consulting, brand initiatives, PR, promotions, partnerships/sponsorship and content development.

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Congratulations to Regal Boats on 50th Anniversary!

Regal Boats of Orlando, FL launched its 50th anniversary celebration with an international dealer meeting at the Ocean Reef Club, followed by a VIP invitation-only press event at the company’s Orlando, FL World Headquarters. Most recently, the company hosted an employee party at an offsite resort facility for its Regal Team members and their families.

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The Most Important Page on Your Website

2019Board2Victor Gonzalez
Director of Marketing, Sportsman Boats
Dec, 2019

Do you know, on average, how many visitors you get to your homepage a month? It is no secret that the homepage is the one of the highest trafficked page of your site. But yet so often, examples pop up of underutilized real estate or outdated content being shown. So, what separates a great homepage from an “ok” one? While difficult to say what it should be exactly in your particular segment of the business, there are some guidelines that should be considered. 

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Strategies for Selling to the Affluent

Soundings Trade Only
Dec 1, 2019

What better place to talk about engaging and marketing to individuals with high net worth than the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show? Miles of docks were glittered with majestic megayachts. Affluent people attended the show from virtually all parts of the world. There is perhaps no grander gathering spot of the boating elite within North America than FLIBS. Read More