By Barb Hansen
Sour economic news comes in daily on the computer, and it pains me especially to learn of doors shutting and jobs lost in the boating industry. The boating "industry," in case you didn't know, does not consist of huge publicly-traded companies. Mostly it is many thousands of family-run companies.
The good news is that while circumstances may be bad for our industry now, I believe we will get the welcome news of a turnaround in boating before many other sectors. Why?
Because boating companies are resilient. But, really, it's because boaters are resilient.
Think about it. We boaters are used to weather delays, saltwater showers, and even "meals" concocted from emergency rations in the almost-empty galley locker. We know how to "make do" when there's a hiccup in our plans.
This economic hiccup – and that's what it is in the big scheme of things -- plays right into our strengths as boaters.
We are Independent. Industrious. Efficient. That goes for our companies, too. They don't need a bailout. They don't want a bailout. They are not sinking. What they need is something that we can give them. Our business.
We just need boaters to help boating firms, just like boaters help boaters in need at sea with a tow or a spare part, just like cruisers help cruisers by sharing food, water, fuel and free advice.
Boaters have always been a close-knit community and boating has always been an activity that brings families and friends closer together.
We boaters have come together during difficult times in the past. We can come together now.
Take a boating vacation. Go to dinner at your favorite dockside watering hole.
Don't put off those boat repairs any longer. Call on your local boat mechanic or shipwright.
Visit your local marine retailer. Check out the latest in marine electronics, deck shoes or galley gear. Make a donation to your community's junior sailing program.
Do it for yourself. But appreciate the fact that you are also helping the companies we boaters will need next year and the year after that.
This is a teaching moment, the perfect backdrop to teaching our kids about our world, our environment, self-sufficiency and personal responsibility. It's also an opportunity to remind ourselves that no man is an island, especially in our industry.
Because you know, deep down, that government can't do it. But, you can. We can.
Barb Hansen is proprietor of the yacht chartering and instruction firms Southwest Florida Yachts and Florida Sailing & Cruising School in North Fort Myers, Fla. Contact her at email@example.com, phone 1-800-262-7939 or visit http://www.swfyachts.com/