Each time we close an issue of Compass, I find myself struggling with this column – I wonder what could I possibly relay to you that you don’t already know? This month, however, I started writing without any hesitation back in early September after I spent the weekend watching the slow-motion destruction by Hurricane Harvey of America’s fourth largest city by population. I was horrified as day after day we witnessed the Katrina-like disaster unfold in Houston before our eyes. As the emergency escalated, my urge to immediately take an unpaid leave of absence and drive as fast as I could to Texas became difficult to resist, even as my obligations to you and my family required me to stay.
How could any of us have known that just a mere 10 days later, Hurricane Irma would hit so many people in the Caribbean and Florida – followed not long after by the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Maria? And now, as I think how blessed I am to have a house that’s still standing, telephone service, electricity, air conditioning, and food restocked by the grocery store, I am even more conflicted about what to do. Between hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and wildfires, it seems like barely a day goes by that some unprecedented disaster doesn’t strike somewhere.
At the September IYBA Board of Directors meeting we spent a large part of our time together debating the merits of one hurricane relief effort over the other. Should we focus on the Keys, or the British and U.S. Virgin Islands? What about Dominica and Puerto Rico? St Martin and Barbuda? There was and is just SO much need. There is virtually no one in this association who has been left unaffected by these tragedies, both personally and professionally. Where can we do the most good?
The truth is, you can ask 50 different people about their charity preferences, and each one will give you a long list of relief efforts they support. IYBA has several current and past Board members who are actively providing emergency relief using their own personal money, aircraft, yachts, and/or individual sweat equity and personal relationships. Please see page 38 for more on some of their efforts. We’ve also added a “Cause” page to the IYBA website, where I encourage you to input your own personal relief projects of choice. My hope is that this area can be used by members to connect those who have amassed stockpiles of products with the groups who desperately need those resources. The point being, with as many people suffering beyond anything any of us have ever imagined, we need to give and then give some more.
As far as updates about current IYBA business, we have several things to relay. First, our Deferred Importation legislative initiative is really gaining momentum with the focus in Washington being on tax reform. Staley Weidman, chairman of our Public Affairs Committee, reports on the latest updates on that front on page 10. It’s a very exciting time and we hope that in the 4th quarter, this huge undertaking will pave the way to bring many more yachts for sale to our shores and many more jobs for our local workers.
Second, I’ve just returned from the Monaco Yacht Show, which easily was the largest edition of the show yet, and it really seems as though the European market has sprung back. I heard a lot of optimism from people I spoke with on the docks.
IYBA is opening a European Chapter, to be headed up by Hein Velema, formerly of Feadship and Fraser Yachts. Hein’s plans to support the European contingent include hosting educational seminars and coordinating broker open houses in a similar vein to the way we’ve been engaging and educating IYBA members here in the U.S. If you know Hein, please reach out and welcome him to the association. If you do not know him, please plan to say hello at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November.
Third, and certainly not least important, our own boat show in Miami has been re-named the “Miami Yacht Show”. We have more details on page 24. Please be sure to pass the new name along to your respective marketing departments so they can be prepared to address the advertising and marketing changes in getting ready for the show, which runs Feb 15-19, 2018.
IYBA Executive Director