Knowing so many of you as well as I do, I am often amazed at the varying paths we’ve taken to end up where we are in the yacht business. Some of you started out as boat captains, and some grew up in marinas or boatyards. For some of you this is a second career. I even know a few of you who used to sell Sea Rays for bags of cash during the 1980s cowboy days here in South Florida. I myself used to sell directories of marine retailers to manufacturers and exhibitors at the old IMTEX show in Chicago. Funny how things change.
There are, however, several common denominators we all share: love of the water, love of boats, and the driving entrepreneurial spirit inherent in this business. But the main trait we have in common is our dedication to succeeding in our careers. This remains one of the founding reasons for the establishment of IYBA: To give yacht professionals a path to success through continuing education and professional development. This is evidenced by the investments each of you make in attending our seminars and participating in the various open houses and networking events we hold each month.
As our association evolves, so too do the pathways we provide for professional development. This past Monday marked the return of our latest IYBA foreign delegation (picutred in the photo below), which traveled to Hamburg, Germany, to visit the Lürssen, Blohm & Voss and Abeking & Rasmussen shipyards. The six delegates were lead by Jeff Partin, a Board member of IYBA and a broker at Superyacht Sales & Charter. His travel companions included Mike Burke and Andy Miles of Westport Yachts, David Ross of YachtZoo, Andrew LeBuhn of Camper & Nicholson, and Kevin Ralph of Worth Avenue Yachts. These gentlemen took it upon themselves to make a financial and time commitment in their success. The payoff was an intensive, five-day education on superyacht construction in what is arguably one of the premier yacht building areas of the world. And while IYBA did help to facilitate the contacts and coordinate the trip, the association had no financial stake in it.
To date, IYBA has organized three such trips in the past seven months, each of which opened new opportunities to IYBA members. We plan to continue to cultivate these types of trips for our members, so if you are interested in being included, or at least given the option to participate, I encourage you to stay active and engaged in the association and let us know your intention.
Along these lines, we are currently preparing for our fifth trip to the American Boating Congress (ABC) conference hosted by the NMMA in Washington, D.C., May 15-17. This trip will include veteran ABC attendees Paul Flannery and Staley Weidman, in addition to firsttime attendees Bob Denison, Grant Henderson, Gigi Garcia, Jenny Wicker and David Maass. We plan to continue our efforts to gain support for H.R. 4065, a Congressional bill that would amend the outdated Tariff Act of 1930 and allow foreign-flagged yachts to be offered for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters. Our goal is to convince the lawmakers to move the time for collecting the duty to when the vessel is sold, rather than when it enters our waters. IYBA estimates that by making this adjustment, potentially we could gain almost $2 billion in yacht inventory that at present is not available for sale to U.S. residents, thus bringing more jobs to our industry and work to our shipyards.
The point of all of this? IYBA has committed five years and significant financial resources to change this archaic law for the benefit of our members and the yachting industry at large. This legislative process is a prime example of our need to get our membership involved with the association’s efforts. We encourage you to take the time and join our delegation at the ABC Conference in Washington, D.C. The more IYBA members in attendance and subsequent Capitol Hill visits, the more our legislators will pay attention to our issues.
Conference details can be found on pages 12-13 and at www.nmma.org/government/abc.