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An editorial: 05/04/2013

   Greetings All:

This is a copy of an article at Sign-On San Diego. Dated 09/03/2011. As an example of the current climate of things; we thought we would add this for those out of the loop. Also, Please read our comments at the end. Thanx

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The ships have sailed.

Just a few years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a place to dock a boat in San Diego County, with waiting lists at almost every marina.

Today, you can have your pick — that is, if you can afford a boat.

“I never thought you'd be able to drive through Shelter Island and see empty boat slips and retail space,” said C.F. Koehler, president of Koehler Kraft, a local boat repair company and marina.

With consumers' discretionary spending dried up, it's not just marinas and boat dealers that are struggling in the recession. Coastal companies that cater to tourists and residents who desire to experience the sea are facing troubled waters, too.

Business is down across the board for harbor cruises, sport fishing and scuba diving — drastically in many cases.

Water recreation may be an indelible part of San Diego's culture, but it is also an important slice of the economy. There are no hard numbers on how much these recreational businesses bring in, but sportfishing alone is estimated to pump in $50 million to the local economy each year, according to a study commissioned by the Sportfishing Council.

One indication about how tough things are along the waterfront is the decline in rent revenues for the Port of San Diego. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, rent revenue for harbor excursions was down 14.4 percent from the previous year and rent revenue from marinas and sportfishing landings fell 2.4 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

As bad as those numbers are, many companies are facing an ever grimmer reality.

Rich Sillanpa, president of Dive Connections in Mission Bay, said his business has dropped by more than 50 percent. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the company typically had as many as 12 excursions a week. This summer, Sillanpa was fortunate to get four trips.

“This past weekend was the first time we had all three boats go out,” he said. “Last year we had to turn away people.”

It's no wonder that business is hurting with budget-conscious customers trimming nonessential expenses such as scuba diving or sportfishing.

That's certainly the case for Craig Petersen of Phoenix. Petersen used to take biannual dive trips along the Sea of Cortez, but hasn't been on an ocean dive in more than 18 months.

“Why? Oh, maybe because I lost my job in February,” Petersen said with sarcasm.

Set to start a job as a software engineer, Petersen, 45, came to San Diego last week for a mini-vacation and a less-expensive dive with Sillanpa's company. Petersen's previous dive was in a lake — a man-made one to boot.

“That hardly even counts,” he said.

H&M Landing, a well-known sportfishing fleet in San Diego, has canceled many trips while struggling with one of the worst downturns in its business in the past 30 years, said Katrina Coleman, the company's office manager. Only 1979 and 1985-86 were as bad — either because of a bad economy or because the fish weren't biting.

Even when boats go out, the trips are shorter and less crowded.

“People would charter boats for their entire company,” Coleman said. “Now they just charter a boat for themselves.”

That sort of trading down can be seen in the harbor cruise market as well. Jim Unger, vice president of Hornblower Cruises and Events, said the corporate business, which accounts for about 30 percent of its revenue, has been hit hard. Companies are less likely to rent out boats for private events and more likely to reserve space on public cruises to save money. But people who might have rented a speedboat as a way to see San Diego Bay are now deciding to take a less-expensive harbor cruise.

“We've found new markets in this economy as we've lost some other markets,” Unger said.

Still, he estimated revenue is down 15 percent this year.

Marinas are struggling, too, with longtime customers selling their boats, dry-docking them or having them repossessed. There are no numbers on how many boats have been repossessed locally, but National Liquidators, one of the country's largest boat recovery companies, said business is up “significantly.”

Eric Leslie of Harbor Island West Marina said business is down 10 percent but he knows of other marinas that have seen business drop by as much as 25 percent. With big-name boat seller H&S Yacht Sales closing down its San Diego office this year, Leslie said a quick recovery is not in sight.

“New boat dealers are going out of business and no new products are coming out,” he said. “We could just bump along the bottom for a long time.”

The numbers for the boating industry are indeed bleak.

Thomas Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, a trade group for the boat building industry, said sales of new boats are down 36 percent this year and boat manufacturing is off as much as 70 percent.

“This is probably the most severe downturn we've seen in recreational boating,” Dammrich said.

That downturn hits areas such as San Diego especially hard. California is second behind Florida in boat ownership and most are in Southern California, Dammrich said.

Beyond the numbers, the boating industry is central to the region's identity.

“It's the fabric of our bay,” said Sharon Cloward, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association.

Catherine Miller, a representative for the San Diego Sportfishing Council, said the sportfishing business always will be important to San Diego but she is worried about how companies will survive the recession.

“People are trying to find ways to stay afloat and get beyond this,” Miller said. “It's really difficult. What can you do when your customers just don't have those discretionary funds anymore?”

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These are trying times for many. The condition of the economy has an impact on everyone, not just in the USA, but world-wide. The marine industry is suffering like almost all others. 

Fortunately, unlike boat sales companies, boat service companies like ours are doing, OK. The current financial conditions that encourage postponement of large purchases like a new boat or car have had a much smaller impact on conservative spending such as maintenance and repairs to boats that families already own.

Boat usage was much lower this last summer, compared to previous seasons, due to higher than expected fuel costs but with fuel cost falling, usage has surged. This should be a great summer to own a boat.

With that in mind I hope we can help keep those boats running smoothly. If you need any assistance and/or have any questions, be sure to contact us. I'm sure we can help.

As a closing note, I sympathize with all those sucked in by and suffering from the massive pyramid scheme perpetrated on the American investor and/or home buyer. I hope our current president finds the courage to throw all those responsible into jail and seize their assets to be returned to the victims.

Happy Boating to All!

See previous editorial 
editorial2 
editorial3
editorial4
 

Not many union boat shops

The current statistics for private sector unions are truly sad. Our industrialized  nation was built on the successes of those unions. However, the original concept has been severely distorted and abused.

An upward economic tide should rise all involved. Ahh.. but how to deal with a low tide? Companies close and/or go bankrupt from their financial burden. When we are talking about the financial burden of unionized government employees, then what? Can we close or bankrupt a government? Looks like we are headed that way unless people start to get realistic.

"Americans will spend more on taxes in 2008 than on food, clothing, and housing combined, according to Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge. This year, Americans worked 74 days to pay their federal taxes and 39 days more to cover state and local levies, the Tax Foundation calculated." [74+39=113 days]

Let's see... 52 weeks @ 5 days a week = 260 possible working days... hmmm.

Taxable property values, income levels, and savings have dropped radically across the nation. Taxes are based on these. Logically, government spending has to move with the declining income tide.

In San Diego and California; government workers have made some concessions. But unfortunately, the concessions have only forestalled the inevitable. The economic bubble that carried everyone up, over the last 20+ years, has burst and the private sector has already crashed.


The state of personal responsibility

This web site isn't trying to be political and/or  politically correct. But, someone emailed this item to me and I just couldn't resist. 

 

Let's see if I understand the state of personal responsibility in America in the last 20 years.
>>
>>If a woman burns her thighs on the hot coffee she was holding in her lap while driving, she blames the restaurant.
>>
>>If your teen-age son kills himself, you blame the rock 'n' roll musician he liked.
>>
>>If you smoke three packs a day for 40 years and die of lung cancer your family blames the tobacco company.
>>
>>If your daughter gets pregnant by the football captain you blame the school for poor sex education.
>>
>>If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, you blame the bartender.
>>
>>If your cousin gets AIDS because the needle he used to shoot heroin was dirty, you blame the government for not providing clean ones.
>>
>>If the congress impeaches a president that admitted to perjury and lying under oath, You blame the congress.
>>
>>If your grandchildren are brats without manners, you blame television.
>>
>>And, if your friend is shot by a deranged madman, you blame the gun manufacturer.
>>
>>And, if a crazed person breaks into the cockpit and tries to kill the pilots at 35,000 feet, and the passengers kill him instead, the mother of the deceased blames the airline.
>>
>>God bless America, land of the free, home of the blame.

         Makes you wonder sometimes, Don't it?

 

Old News and other silly things:

sculpture.htm

Coldbacon  (new window)


 

   


Editorial: 07/25/2017
    It has been 17  years on the internet as a web site and we have met and talked to a lot of friendly people. This web site is about the questions people ask us most. The stories we'd like to post have come from persons who would rather not have  their story told but, we respect these person's wishes, too.
   There is a thread that often runs through these person's stories and that is that they wish they had learned a bit more before jumping into a boat purchase and/or repair. 
   As fun as boating can be... there is a slight learning curve. This learning curve can get expensive if you didn't do your homework first.
   Our tip is to read all you can, ask other boaters, and trust your senses. Safe/Trouble free boating is no accident... 

What do you think?

 

 
 

A Blast from the Past.

  He claimed to have sold Connie Ray his first windshield.
For many years, He manufactured wood boats on the South Side of Chicago. He could sell refrigerators in Alaska. Who is he?

 

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