Beneteau’s fast track to powerboat share — Page 8 Some first steps for attacking the age gap — Page 26 December 2013 Vol. LI, No. 6 Wages going nowhere Median household income in U.S. Source: U.S. Census Bureau $51,681 $46,449 $48,520 $56,080 $51,017 ® WWW.TRADEONLYTODAY.COM $ 5.00 1969 1979 1989 1999 *adjusted for inflation 2012 A sunny FLIBS by any measure With perfect weather, attendance soared and sales beat exhibitor expectations INSIDE Storm defenses The growing frequency of catastroph-ic weather events has prompted the organizers of January’s IMBC to strengthen their marina design and construction offerings. Page 28 “I t’s the Super Bowl, it’s Christmas, it’s New Year’s — it’s all this rolled into one.” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler may have gone a bit over the top in describing his city’s signature marine event, but just a bit. Organizers, exhibitors and attendees agree that the 54th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, held Oct. 31-Nov. 4, was a smashing success. Producers couldn’t have asked for better weather. Sunny skies and pleasant conditions erased memories of the heat, rain and wind that tormented the show during the previous three years. Turnout was up a whopping 28 per-cent and exhibitors, delighted with the business they were doing, grew more optimistic about the future. “I really feel like we’re turning the corner and are going to start see-ing some true improvement,” says MarineMax vice president Chuck Cashman. “Actual cash deposits were significantly higher than in years past,” says Boston Whaler vice presi-dent Jeff Vaughn. Managing editor Rich Armstrong, executive editor Chris Landry and senior writer Jim Flannery cover all the bases in our FLIBS report. Pages 20-27 STEVE JYLKKA Pontoon profits Taylor Made Systems and its Ameritex subsidiary are two of the OEM sup-pliers adjusting their product lines to cash in on the growing popularity of pontoon boats. Page 30 Playing catch-up Stung by a weather-disrupted spring selling season, the industry seemed headed toward a strong finish to 2013 with a third straight month of double-digit increases in September. Page 53 Bright, young, eager — and tuned in The industry’s rising stars could be the secret to cracking the youth market ADVERTISING SPECIAL I f the industry is to succeed in replenishing its aging customer base, it’s going to need to infuse its leadership with young peo-ple who can relate to their peers and lure them into boating. Following up on her report earlier this year on the graying of the boating consumer, associate editor Reagan Haynes talks with a half-dozen of the industry’s rising stars. For the most part, they’re people who respect the value of their elders’ ex-perience, but recognize that an age gap exists. “My view of what looks good and sounds good is a whole lot different than a 50-year-old’s,” says 24-year-old Ben Dorton, who is following in his father’s footsteps at Bryant Boats. “What’s important to some of the older generations is not important to younger ones,” agrees Matt Lodder, 38, of Lodder Marine in Ohio. At New Hampshire’s Winniscum Marine, 32-year-old Ryan Crawford says younger customers “need to feel guided, not pushed. You never want to seem a hard sell, but the older generation, it’s a different mentality.” Page 16 Marinas, Docks & Boatyards Preview HEARD IT HERE FIRST “It’s not all doom and gloom. You’re facing some headwinds, but they’re not insurmountable.” — Marketing research executive Nate Fristoe, on reversing the decline in boat ownership The marina segment has remained pret-ty stable over the last few years, even when the economy was tipping. With business improving in many places, the International Marina & Boatyard Con-ference promises to be a record-setting event. Check out our show preview, which starts on Page 33.