Antique Boat America Hits 20 Million Unique Visitors!
Sometimes we fool our selves into thinking that the Classic Boat culture is small. Since the clubs and Classic Boating magazine have close to 8,000 members or subscribers. Give or take 1,000 But lately we here at Woody Boater have noticed a trend. Traffic is to large here for just 7,000 folks. And at the most recent Reedville show, out of 45 boats, 5 were ACBS members. Not a ding on the ACBS. Statistics will show that engagement happens at a small percentage of a market. There is a difference between a person that belongs to something, and a person who is interested. With Antique Boat America’s latest press release regarding hitting 20 million unique visitors, it’s clear that the market for our beloved woody boats is huge. Woody Boater just this year will hit more than 2 million hits and over 200,000 unique visitors. In one year. Antique Boat America currently has around 1,700 boats online for sale and 90 in stock to look at according to there release. So, its fair to say. We are not alone in our passion, our Woody Boats represent dreams and aspirations of many who may one day dream of owning a cool woody. Or folks that love one but are scared of them. This crowd may not understand that the care of one is not all that bad if you know where to go and do. Below is the release from Antique Boat America. Congrats to them. Woohoooo 20 million times.
(Clayton, NY) – Today, Antique Boat America announced that they have reached a milestone when it recorded its 20 millionth unique visitor.
The record number reflects Antique Boat America’s explosive growth in just 10 years of operation. “We are so pleased the interest that our website has attracted and thank our customers for their support and constant feedback with ways to improve the site and make it more useful”, said Peter Mellon, President of Antique Boat America.
“A huge amount of effort and teamwork from across our entire organization goes into achieving these results”, stated Mellon.
Earlier in 2012, Antique Boat America unveiled the world’s first mobile application designed exclusively for the wooden boat community to provide more data and content to users wishing to buy and sell wooden boats. The “Boat Finder” app is available for Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.
“Our mobile downloads are growing exponentially and we are now attracting more people through our popular website, mobile application, and social media presence”, added Peter Mellon.
The site now features best-in-class search criteria and in depth information on over 1,700 boats.
The company regularly attends numerous boat shows and symposiums each year and is the host of the popular Antique Boat Auction in Clayton, NY, held each summer to support the Antique Boat Museum of Clayton.
I find the ACBS member statistic for the Reedville show very interesting. For our larger Michigan Chapter shows (Algonac and St. Clair), we will have only 5 to 10 persent non ACBS members for the boats registered. We do charge an additional $20 to encourage joining the club, but I don’t think that is a factor, as most of the non members stay the same year after year. It is usually the first timers that will join the club rather than pay the additional registration fee. I really don’t undestand the difference in demographic between Virginia and Michigan. Food for thought.
The difference could be the due to how the local club is run or how the show is run. Your club may attract more people to join or conversely, your show may not be attracting as many non-members.
I will say Matt’s observation jives with my experience. Very few of the woodyboaters I have met are members of a club or even involved in shows. They may check out the CCABC forum every now and then or read a woodyboater article, but they have little interest in joining or posting.
And by not belonging to a group of like minded people, miss out on a lot of neat and interesting things to enjoy with thire “Toys” be it classic boats or classic cars. My wife Ronnie and I have experienced so many unique events since 2004 when we joined the Western Michigan Camaro Club. We knew we had to find a group to join when we got back into Classic Wooden boats in 2009.
Since we have joined the ACBS Water Wonderland Chapter, we have had more fun cruizin together with chapter members, and representing our chapter, as we travel around the country at various Classic boating events. Now in our third year of attending classic boat shows, we have the enjoyment of meeting new people at each trip, and renewing that friendship,year after year.
I found long ago, being a “lone wolf” in a hobby, you miss out on so many cool things you can enjoy, where being by yourself, you would never even get the chance to explore.
Bottom line for those of you reading this post, try joining a local group of Wooden boaters, and start getting more enjoyment out of your Classic Boat. You do not have to attend meetings, or volenteer for time consuming tasks, “If you do not want to”. But I think once join, and get involved, you will get the bug to jump in and be more and more active in your local organization.
I run into these people in various ways. Some see my boat on the lake, others I see theirs. I live on a “main road” and have had my boat in the driveway and several people have introduced themselves after driving by. Others see my woody clothing or I see theirs.
When the discussion goes to CCABC or ACBS, they usually are not members because they are not interested in what clubs have to offer. They are boat users not hobbyists, and they generally have families they boat with and like everyone these days they have limited free time so they are not looking for more activities. I have tried to make the sales pitch for CCABC a couple times, but for some of these guys nothing we do will make the sale. The best I can explain it is I wear wool sweaters in the winter, but there is nothing a knitting club could offer to get me to join. I just want to wear the darn things.
Wool makes me itch
The ACBS and the clubs might be the old school method of contact and communication for those interested in the boats?
Our Tidewater chapter encompasses some of the largest and best boating territory in the nation and yet we struggle with membership….always have. As a long time member and reluctant cyber user, even I can tell that the hobby has gone digital….or whatever. Printing a yearbook filled with info that could easily and cheaply be duplicated on the web is but one example of the shift. I don’t know the answer…I just keep paying dues and GOING BOATING!
John in Va.
Adapting to the changing technological and social platforms of today is a challenge, not just for the classic boating hobby, but likely almost all clubs that formerly relied on first-person fellowship and comraderie as an attraction for members. While the on-line interaction of WB, CCABC and like sites in other hobbies can and does replace other forms of communciation, there is no on-line substitute for the tactile, social interactions that hobbyists get by sharing and using their boats (or cars, or planes, animals, etc.) together in a group. I don’t think there ever will be. Yes, printed materials and other forms of club produced materials can be replaced digitally but for those seeking it, collective and shared experiences with other like minded folks remains the pervue of organized clubs and events – for the most part.
I have come to realize in the past year that there is a HUGE well of classic boaters out there who are not members of any club, they just like boating, and quite a few obviously like the daily light-hearted dose of WB. If organized clubs or groups in any organization wish to attract these “free-agent” hobbyists, they have to revise their value proposition to meet the needs of these folks – simple as that. Most hobby organizations originally formed to meet the needs of a core group of adherents or enthusiasts and that same potential is there today. The needs are just different, with the sharing of information less important because it is mostly available on-line – see the success of ABA and their on line listings. At the CCABC we recently stopped printing the Trading Dock ads in the Brass Bell – why print it, when it was on-line and up to date 24 hours a day?
For me the most enjoyable thing is actually boating with a bunch of fun folks, which is why I dragged a user boat all the way to Table Rock – just to damn well boat, not win a prize. I think many folks just want to have fun, and communicating the accessibility and simple fun that hobby groups can and do help organize and provide is, I think, a key to retaining members and growing.
The fact that ABA has a huge number of visitors is a clear example of the size of the hobby base we have here, as is the appeal and popularity of WB. The ACBS has a stable memebrship of around 7400, and the CCABC is now actually gaining many new members each month. There is no shorage of classic boaters around, and as time marches on there will be more – some may not see it this way, but a 40 year old 1972 glass boat is a classic in the eyes of many, just as a 40 year old Chris was to others in 1972. When the ACBS was founded in 1975 they did not consider ANYTHING post-war to be classic – now look at our reverance for many of those boats. In 1975 a 1946 25′ SP was just an old boat, like a 1983 boat is to us today.
There will be lots of classic boaters around for a long time – but will they participate in the hobby the same way an earlier generation did? I think in some ways yes (using them, getting together) but John is right – there is diminished value in printed content. Guys like John and Dennis see the value in these organizations and they appear to do the trick and enhance their enjoyment of the hobby- that is the whole raison d’etre for clubs as I see it.
Congrats to Peter Mellon and others on the success of their site, and I would love to see thier inventory of available boats decline – as I am sure they would!
I think if all shows were like the Algonac show, club membership would skyrocket! It must be the free beer and wet T-shirt contest that keeps them coming back.
…back to “Where it All Began”.
(How’s that for a pitch, Greg?”
Great pitch Chad. Now I expect to see you and Lily at the 2013 show for sure!
Hold please, still reading pauls coment..
Hey Texx, does today’s banner remind you of our arrival by Sportsman at Mackinac Island this summer? And, of all people to have aboard at the time, Jeff Martines! I figure after what he’s been through with the freighter, what’s a few ferry waves over the bow!
I just recently got the water out of my ears after that adventure.
I think those ABA stats are a little skewed ’cause 1/20th of those hits are me looking at all the boats I can’t afford.
What vibrates the blood causes the disease of wanting. Those looks of old classic boats and cars even houses. An old boat laying on the ding weeds. If you feel the need to rescue it and have a vision of it sliding through the water, the old car rolling under her own power….. You are lucky to have such a disease! I am sure most wives would agree….NOT!