Well, there is a rather bold statement for us little guys here in the Classic Boat Community to be making! But hold on and read on. I might have an interesting point, and if you are a new boat seller, you may consider having a Classic Boat or two on the lot to sell.
First we all know, and its well published that the boating population is aging beyond the normal aging population. As in, each year the age of a boater is around 6 months older that the population. Back in the late 90’s it was around 37 years of age when boaters got into the passion, now its mid to late 40’s. See, we are not alone in our fear of an aging out population. But it’s not because of what we thought. The emotional connection to old boats. Its many factors. TIME, MONEY, SPACE, and DESIGN. There are a bunch of articles in the trade magazines on this subject, so we won’t get into it. But we here thought..mmmm We cant solve the time thing, that’s universal, or the space thing, thats a function of real estate. BUT, Money and design we can nail like a massive winner. Here is the thought.
MONEY– Let’s be honest here. One of the major attractions of classic boating is the low cost of entry. YES, even an insane 25 Sportsman at $150,000 is nothing compared to a top of the line 25 Something or other at $400,000 and you can today buy a very cool Woody that is fun and fantastic for $25,000 and if you really are budget to cool ratio conscious a cool Classic Plastic fro 1,000 without engine. So, in a way, if a person is scared away from boating for money concerns. A cool classic boat is a fantastic way to get on the water in style.
DESIGN – Really, do we need to even explain this part? Yes. Jet Boats are the trend for Millennials, they are low cost, fast and fun. But, this is also the same generation that is doing dilapidated looking hot rods, and raising the value of vintage Porsches to over $100K. They love old analog stuff. Hell they are even bringing back Vinyl Records and using Type Writers. YES! So a cool Plastic boat that is rocking cool patina and all with a newer engine on a new trailer is a viable option for them. A very cool Woody with patina, but solid bottom and reliable power is a way in. And can be relatively a low cost entry. Own a Marina? sell a souped up XK and see what happens? If anything it will say you are a cool Marina that gets cool boats. So what that you sell 10 Pontoon Boats to one XK, the XK is the Corvette in the show room that sells Malabus!
SPACE – Ok this is a weak argument that we can only say, that a cool classic boat in a garage is a static work of art. A brand new bass Boat is a Bass boat. That takes up space for Moms car. So Space is relative. For example, in the New Woody Boater space in Northern VA we have a special space for “Art” Its not storage when its art.
TIME – OK Millennials are over worked, or in the basement of your home. We are not talking about the basement dwellers. And to be honest, if you dont have the time for boating, its an excuse because you are not into it yet. And chances are if you just got out of your parents basement, a home on the water aint in the cards. BUT if you are into hot rodding and vynal records, and want to get into cool moving art, a cool vintage boat to work on could be cool, and set you apart from the over bearded type writing tool at the coffee shop. Hey! Don’t get mad at me, we all had out time being cool, yours is closing down. Welcome Generation Z! See your already old. BTW, Millennial’s are as large a group as baby Boomers, so they are coming. But late to the boat party. Its a time thing.
So. See, maybe, just maybe if main stream boat dealers think outside of the box, and take into consideration that a classic boat may be the way for a younger person to get into the passion. Use them in ads? Have one in the show room. And for us in the culture, think outside of your marketing box. Start marketing your stuff to a more main stream target, target younger with cool young people hot rodding around in cool boats. Show your boats at main stream boating events. BUT in a cool way, bring ratty cool boats with young people loving them. We all get into boating because its a social activity. We want friends and people to hang out with and babes to like us. And for the Women into Boating, young studly’s to want to just sit around and pout. Either way, the boat is the key, and thats the point. So if you own a fancy pants new boat marina, get a nice woody boat all done up nice, and throw that sucker in the showroom. It will help sell the dream of boating.