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Old 08 November 2008, 02:58   #1
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Marine Industry Health Check

Following on from a recent (slightly feisty thread) on the subject, I thought it might be useful to do a straw poll on how things are for everyone?

November is typically a very slack month anyway, so is everything going naturally quiet or is Winter the final straw for some? Not talking about personal info here, just the general feel. So far we have had three customers and two suppliers go bust.
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Old 08 November 2008, 03:16   #2
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Originally Posted by malthouse View Post
Following on from a recent (slightly feisty thread) on the subject, I thought it might be useful to do a straw poll on how things are for everyone?

November is typically a very slack month anyway, so is everything going naturally quiet or is Winter the final straw for some? Not talking about personal info here, just the general feel. So far we have had three customers and two suppliers go bust.
Quite busy and a full order book for the winter!
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Old 09 November 2008, 17:02   #3
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It's quiet for me at the moment, although it was like this last year too; I find I have a very quiet spell from the end of October until the new year. Quite depressing especially with the current weather
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Old 11 November 2008, 03:48   #4
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Old 11 November 2008, 04:00   #5
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Although some areas like used Rib sales are suffering, our main areas of business i.e. Outboard servicing, refits and especially re-tubes are up on last year.
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Old 11 November 2008, 11:44   #6
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Despite the odd individual business that may be doing better than last year or odd seasonal trends I don't think you have to open your eyes particularly wide to see that their is less spending going on in the marine leisure world than previous years.

While a few individual sectors may be OK and small and new businesses that are still going through initial growth have not noticed the decline in the flow of money most of us are seeing less sales and less enquiries in existing markets.

The first big sign was the demise of Peters 14 months ago, a long established king in the new boat sales markets. If people are not buying new boats then most of the rest of us are in trouble

For my company the first signs were the decline in own boat tuition for new owners of large motor yachts, which started about a year ago. While this sector decline steadily throughout this year we did not see a decline in small and open boat (RIB) own boat tuition until much more recently.

I donít believe this is caused by us loosing any market share, I believe itís an overall decline in spending. You don't have to be a genius to work out when average Joe who has no particular investment knowledge sees his house go up in value by £50K in 2 years he feels affluent and starts buying investment properties and luxury products. When the same average Joe 4 yrs later has invested in 3 buy to let properties and is now faced with a property portfolio that is worth less than his mortgage commitments its time to stop spending.

There are a few operators in my sector (not Ribnet posters) who when asked will always tell you they are busier then ever. The freelance instructors that work at these centres and with us tell a different story of smaller classes, less work and cancelled courses.

In the marina we operate in, 2 companies have gone and 2 downsized their premises in the last few months. Round the corner I see more and more To Let signs appear in marina premises windows.

More and more long standing suppliers (sail makers, boat builders, safety suppliers, T shirt printers, etc.) are phoning us up looking for more business. Busy businesses donít have to phone around looking for work

I have friends phoning from abroad who skipper super yachts, they have been told to loose some crew or take a pay cut (these owners are the guys who supposedly never worry about money).

Boat Show organisers are finding it difficult to fill all of their stands with exhibitors.

I know freelance skippers/instructors who are starting to look at alternative work as they are not getting enough sail/power work.

I hate to be the prophet of doom but we all need to prepare ourselves for some lean times. There will be marine businesses that donít survive this winter. There will be others whose down season is the summer and wonít make it through to 2010. If your not already you need to breath in, reduce over heads and be ready to weather the next few months (years).

I think in answer to Malthousesí question the marine leisure industry is not in is as good health as everyone would like to claim.

On a more personal note we arenít going under, we will be hear for some time to come but were not putting much into the tin under the mattress towards Dougís retirement. We continue of course to earn our friend at HMRC a healthy income.
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Old 11 November 2008, 12:18   #7
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I bet the organisers of the Earls Court show are starting to sweat I hope it goes reasonably well as I doubt it will be back otherwise and I think its the best show to go visit.
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Old 11 November 2008, 16:00   #8
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I don't really have much to add to Doug's post which pretty much sums things up. Two further thoughts though:

1) whilst without doubt the global economic situation is not helpful do not underestimate the effect of the very poor summer we had. For example we run 4 hire boats in Poole and August was a complete washout for them as the high winds made them unusable. Likewise people didn't come boating as often in the marina so i) Didn't break their boats - with the resultant spin off for all manner of marine suppliers ii) For training providers people using their boats often a) want to go further afield so seek training b) want to improve skills - so seek training iii) Become inspired by a great weekends boating to buy bigger craft - and so seek training

2) Having run another (unrelated) business through both the early 90s and the time of 9-11 then so difficult markets create opportunities for well run and managed business. Yes things get tighter and there is a need to closely manage the business but those businesses and people coming out the other side are infinitely sharper, better and more successful for it.

Regards

Paul
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Old 12 November 2008, 03:25   #9
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.
Allegedly
Fairline have made 90 redundant and the remaining employees at the Corby factory are on a 2-3 day week
They still employ over 1300 people
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Old 12 November 2008, 05:18   #10
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It's the same North of the Border

I can endorse what Paul and Doug have said, and add that it's pretty much the same in Scotland. The leisure and commercial markets are both down - not disastrously at the moment, but noticeably quieter across all seagoing sectors, and there is a real sense of nervousness among a number of our clients about what the future holds for them.

Oddly (?) - shorebased courses seem to be holding up much better. I'm not sure why that is but I'm not complaining!
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