British Marine unveiled details of its new ‘Futures’ program alongside key industry partner the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) on the opening day of the 2018 London Boat Show on Wednesday.
David Pougher, president of British Marine, took to the Legends Theatre stage to officially launch the project, which is designed to sustain and grow the future of Britain's boat and watersports industry. Like many countries, he said, the UK suffers from an ageing boating population and few young people entering the sport.
With the number of leisure boaters on the decline, British Marine engaged Liz Rushall of Rushall Marketing to undertake a detailed study in 2017 to determine the facts behind perceived industry views and to look at emerging consumer trends and how they might affect the industry of the future.
Jon Eads, project manager for the Futures project, said the goal is to get more people, throughout their lives, enjoying all forms of boating and associated watersports. “Ninety-one per cent of the current population doesn’t take part in boating or watersports so the potential for growth is huge," said Eads. "Our future customers will be different and so we must respond now to social and demographic changes and work together to achieve it. If we change nothing, then nothing will change.”
Some of the detail being worked on includes refreshing the profile and image of boating and watersports, increasing its appeal, shifting to a demand-led ‘pay & play’ approach, improving and strengthening pathways, connecting customers and newcomers through a single online database, retaining more people to continue with their activities through their changing life stages, and encouraging participation across all levels.
Sarah Treseder, CEO of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), explained the importance of collaboration with British Marine. “There’s no way on earth that we’re going to create the kind of change that we need with individual organisations working on their own,” she said, pointing to the Green Blue joint project as evidence of past succesful partnerships. “The only bad outcome is if we do nothing, so we’re keen to get started.”
The session ended with a final word from David Pougher. “British Marine is a strong organisation. The RYA is a strong organisation. Other strategic partners are all strong in their own way. Collectively, we have an opportunity to make a difference. We will make a difference. We ask for your support.”
Detailed ‘Futures’ reports are available to download from the British Marine website at www.britishmarine.co.uk/futures.