Transforming Boats into Dreamboats
Boat owners often discover their crafts’ shortcomings during peak boating season. Maybe the boat would be better if extra lights or speakers were added. Or an aging marine head unit should be upgraded to one that can stream music. Maybe last year’s fun toys are too corroded. Regardless of the issue, it’s time to replace them with new, waterproof marine accessories. These changes will make boating life more fun, safer or both.
Whatever that marine product might be, if it adds flare, sets a cool mood or lends itself to a great social media post, you can count on boating enthusiasts from millennials (also called Generation Y) to baby boomers to embrace it.
Wet ‘n’ wild products help turn boats into dreamboats. By carrying the latest marine tech and hottest boat accessories during the summer, you don’t need to wait till winter dry-dock time to land those marine aftermarket sales.
Tech that adds bling to boating
Boating without music to caption the fun is blah. Because the marine environment is so unforgiving to electronics, when it comes time to replace, take the opportunity to upsell audio components that bring pizzazz to the party.
1. Head of the class
- Multimedia capabilities of marine grade head units have evolved greatly—especially in connectivity options. Bluetooth, of course, is standard. So are USB and auxiliary inputs. Millennials use the latest tech to stream digital files from their smart devices, take calls and access their Pandora Internet Radio stations.
- Head unit design is equally sophisticated to match more upscale boat consoles and cabins. Aggressive shapes and styles include gauge and black box. However, the more traditional single DIN size remains popular for easier retrofitting.
- Many source units are geared for multi zone playback. These allow boaters to kick up audio levels to drown out wind and wave noise.
2. Speaking out
- Marine speakers bear the brunt of water and UV damage. And as generational tastes change, so does their placement—and design. Replace those aging components with speakers that feature built-in LED lighting. The CM series of speakers, tower speakers and subwoofers from Clarion Marine have user-controlled RGB lights for mood-setting ambiance. Plus, they take their striking visual looks from a Virginia-class submarine propeller!
- For boats large enough to house additional amps, marine grade amplifiers will push sound to extra speakers or subwoofers.
- The 8-inch ATV Tube speaker system from Bazooka is an all-in-one package that includes an amp, speakers, RGB lighting and Bluetooth! This lets you add sound—not to mention a party atmosphere!—to areas not easily accessible from the head unit or console.
3. Spotlight on fun!
- There’s more to boating tech than audio and accent lighting. For your customers who want to keep the party going long after sunset, recommend DB Link Lighting Solutions series of Lux Performance straight and curved single row lights. These blazing-bright LED light bars can handle submersion up to 3 feet. And they feature a combination spot and flood lighting pattern that will dazzle deck areas as well as light up the water.
- Another key component in boating, but often overlooked, is the boat hauling trailer. If practical, adding a backup camera or an LED light bar here can solve a lot of headaches. Regardless, be sure to suggest a couple of marine grade, flush mount reverse lights.
Wet ‘n’ wild accessories
Popular boating activities including fishing, exploring, skiing, swimming and, of course, partying! Spread your nets wide and stock both hardware and accessories that cover the gamut.
- Fishfinders come in a wide variety of technologies and price points. Be sure to ask your customers questions to determine if a stand-alone fish finder, a combo with chartplotter or a fully networked system is best for their application.
- Ice chests are a boating staple. Soft sided cases are ideal for day trips. Rugged, Pelican coolers have serious ice-retention capabilities for longer journeys and hotter climates. Both kinds are leagues above those cheap foam containers that only last a trip or two and will prove their water worthiness for years to come.
- Water and cell phones don’t mix. Display small micro cases or sports wallets to encourage boaters to safely tuck that phone away.
- Offer colorful waterproof cameras. Carry those with Bluetooth capability so photos and videos can automatically be transferred to smartphones, complete with geotagging info!
- Lightweight and waterproof two way radios are ideal for those times when people land on small islands or explore an intriguing coastline. Keeping track of everyone by way of walkie talkie is so much easier, and there’s no need to worry about cellular dead zones.
- And let’s not forget fun in the water itself! Today’s marine accessories include waterproof floating speakers, submersible boom boxes equipped with Bluetooth and even floating lanterns and spotlights! For snorkelers and underwater explorers, provide dive lights. And to see who else is on shore, in the water or aboard other boats, fogproof and waterproof binoculars are fun, useful and possibly lifesaving.
According to NMMA’s 2016 statistical abstract, annual retail sales of new boats, engines and marine accessories in the U.S. totaled $17.9 billion, up 8.1% over the previous year. And marine aftermarket accessory sales totaled $6.4 billion, an increase of 8% over the previous year.
If you’re concerned that boating enthusiasts are skewing older, don’t worry. According to BoatUS Magazine, a 2012 US Coast Guard study found that 27% of those 25 to 34 years old participate in boating, versus 23% of those 55 to 64 years of age. Plus, millennials are sharing boating experiences with their friends by renting boats,. They retrofit older boats, sharing ownership of them. Or they borrow their parents’ or grandparents’ boats—vessels that are ripe for aftermarket products and upgrades.
Every generation discovers the siren song of boating. The adventure, the bonding, the water activities, the memories and simply the need to get away never lose appeal. So, whether you deal with marine aftermarket sales and installations, build or retrofit boats, operate a marina or run a charter service, don’t hoist the white flag. Adjust course to boost your social media presence. You’ll hook those boat-loving millennials as well as retain your baby boomer base. Be sure to visit Petra.com for the wet ‘n’ wild marine accessories that all generations will welcome aboard.