Making way for the kids

May 24, 2017 Reagan Haynes

Millennials are the future, both as boaters and as members of the industry that will provide the boats and services owners will need.
About 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, research shows, a trend that is opening the door for more young people and millennials to fill those roles.

The boating industry, recognizing this demographic shift, finally is welcoming young people, doing so with groups such as the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas’ Young Leaders Advisory Council and the Marine Millennials program launched by the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference.

Some of that embrace could be born of necessity as industry veterans look for succession plans. Or it could come from an increasing understanding of younger generations — historically each generational newcomer to the workforce has had to battle negative stereotypes from elders, who need time to learn that different doesn’t mean worse. It could also be that as the average age of boat owners continues to rise, manufacturers and dealers are looking to tap youthful vision to draw other young people into boating.

Many suspect that a combination of factors is leading working boomers to start welcoming their millennial counterparts.

We did a Q&A with four millennials to discern their views of the overall industry, discuss what they think they have to offer and learn and ask where they see the industry heading.

Rachel Timko, project manager of consumer and trade events for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, and Warren McCrickard, sales vice president for Infinity Woven Products, are involved in the Marine Millennials program launched at IBEX.

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