December 2003 - NC Marine TradeWinds Newsletter
SBTDC NC Marine Trades Services
-Mike Bradley, Editor
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More information at our www.NCwaterways.com website.
NCMTA – Reviving the North Carolina Marine Trade Association?
Joan Maxwell – 2nd Consecutive Year NC Boat Company President Wins Award
Dredging Problems and Dredging Process Survey for ALL Marinas
Boat-Related Education and Training Information Updated
NC – New Boatbuilders, New Product Companies, New Concerns, New Opportunities
Intracoastal Waterway Action Alert Issues by AIWA
Albemarle Boats Wins CSI Award
NC OSHA and Workplace Safety Help
Business-to-Business Buying Growing for Boat Building Industry
Willing to Bring Training to NC Business Sector in 2004
There are a growing number of NC marine business
owners, primarily affiliated with marinas, boatyards, and marine
construction firms, who have requested that we re-establish the NC
Marine Trade Association. The reasons are varied, but have regional
components. These include property taxes imposed on transient boats,
lack of ICW and inlet dredging, fuel taxes applied in NC but not in VA
or SC, loss of public boating services through marina conversion to
private condos, FERC re-licensing & the resulting effects on lake
marinas, new invigorated stormwater and boat washdown concerns,
increasing water quality restraints, and the lack of regulatory
consistency & common-sense rulings, etc. The list grows monthly.
The problem is basic and legal: a functional
association should be able to lobby and our NC Marine Trades Services is
a state program that works to grow the marine industry in jobs and tax
base, but we can’t lobby and we have very limited financial resources.
We can continue to support the marketing, education, regulatory,
training, and job growth functions of a trade association, but we
can’t lobby and we have to have funding for our services.
And, we have not addressed boat builders and boating
product/manufacturing businesses, as these provide the majority of jobs
in the marine sector. The NCMM (NC Manufacturing Association) has a
lobby function and several of the boat builders and product companies
are members, but not the majority of the smaller businesses. Boat
building issues are fairly non-regional, but are often divided between
fiberglass and cold-molded construction. Two other sectors provide
thousands of jobs in the state and have their own set of issues: boat
dealers and marine product manufacturers.
We need to hear more from interested business owners.
We have had suggested regions similar to those on our NCwaterways site,
basically southern, central and northern coast, piedmont and western. We
want to help, but this has to be led by owners of the core marine
businesses. We need your input. Email or fax me, providing your business
name, owner’s name and county along with contact info. We won’t
release a list or commit you to anything more than talking to others
from your region that express a similar interest. Contact Mike Bradley
at Mbradley@SBTDC.org or fax at
Joan Maxwell, president of Regulator Marine,
Inc. was presented with the 2003 Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award
last month at the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) annual
convention held in Las Vegas. The 2002 recipient of the Darlene Briggs
award was Kris Carroll, president of Grady-White Boats, Inc. And
in the same month, the Soundings Trade Only cover article
featured NC’s Winchester Powerboats, Inc. president, Tiffany
Dowell, as the only African-American female president and CEO of a U.S.
Boat manufacturing operations. Thanks to each of you. It isn’t likely
another state will top this set of honors in the near future.
Sponsored by NMMA/MOAA and conducted by the Lighthouse Consulting Group, the survey is to determine specific problems and possible solutions for marinas involved in the dredging process. Participate in the survey at link below. Questions? Contact Forsyth Kineon of Lighthouse at email@example.com. We have a link from the Business Assistance Tab at www.NCwaterways.com.
website has an education and industry training page found under the Business
Assistance Tab. 2004 should
begin a new training trend as a number of community colleges expand boat
building and marine trades training courses. The schools also have a
strong drive to help existing businesses train and re-train employees.
Find national and statewide training including ABYC,
Online, NMMA and
There most likely will be a sizable handful of
new-to-the-state boat builders hiring several hundred to over 1,000 NC
employees in 2004/5. This is music to the ears of developers and
politicians, yet a pain-in-the-neck for existing boat builders that may
lose trained employees to any of these new businesses that land in their
It is easy to get caught on both sides of this issue,
since our program’s efforts have been focused on providing business
growth assistance to existing NC marine businesses at the same time
recruiting out-of-state businesses that need trained manpower the day
they start production. The end result of this dilemma will hopefully be
somewhere in the middle of making business owners mad and glad. The draw
of NC is that there is a critical mass of boat building resources and
boating demand well served by our state’s central east coast location.
The benefit of quality NC boating products and construction
materials is an added win for the state and the builders. These same
draws also bring in experienced employees that weren’t here and would
never be coming here if the state weren’t energized with quality
builders. The problem comes in when the supply of qualified employees
gets strained and existing area companies vie for cost-effective,
The long-term solutions to these concerns tend to
serve boatbuilders better than most manufacturers. The solutions lie in
better and more cost-effective employee production through the use of
training, technologies that improve the environment of the workplace and
deliver production efficiencies, and conditions that “bond” the
employee to the employer, to the boat being produced, and to the quality
of the boat-buyer’s experience of owning the company’s boat. And,
for 2004 on, there is an increasing degree of optimism regarding the
efforts being made at the NC community college level to plan for and
train or re-train an effective new boat industry workforce. This will
take involvement and commitment by the builder, but the resources are
getting in place to tailor training to meet competitive production
requirements. Stay tuned or contact us for more information.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA)
the following notice: a portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
in North Carolina is experiencing severe shoaling and commercial traffic
is being restricted to navigating only during high tides. The
Corps of Engineers does not have money in their budget to do emergency
dredging to open up the waterway. Go to www.atlintracoastal.org
for information on how to respond.
Albemarle Boats was featured in the recent December issues NMMA’s Inter/port
publication as one of the Customer Satisfaction Index Award winners
for 2003. Albemarle won in the Sterndrive Cuddy Express and Inboard
Fishing Express categories. Each company that wins the award “achieved
and maintained an independently-measured standard of excellence of 90
percent or higher in customer satisfaction over the past year”. For
more information on the program, go to www.nmmacsi.com
The following suggestion hasn’t been our typical
advise. We want you to consider calling NC OSHA and asking for a
confidential review of your business. The reason is our understanding
that many small boatbuilders and marine business with over 10 employees
are a short step from being “in compliance” but an expensive step
from being just “out of compliance”. This NC agency has become quite
“boat savvy” in the past year and has demonstrated a willingness to
help without overzealous or business-threatening expectations (there are
exceptions, but rare ones). The safety and health services through the
Consultative Services Bureau, and the educational and engineering
assistance through the Education, Training, and Technical Assistance
Bureau are free. The consultation records are separate and
confidential from compliance. There are some experienced
consultants there that know their way around boatbuilding. If you have
Internet, view information at hwww.nclabor.com/osha/consult/bcs1.htm
for the basics. Then find a blocked ID phone and call John Bogner at
919-807-2905 for consultative services or Les Kafel at 919-807-2890 for
employee education and training assistance. Ask enough questions to
satisfy your concerns so that you are comfortable. The request form is
found at this site: www.nclabor.com/osha/consult/request2.pdf.
Bottom line: NC boatbuilders are buying more boat
construction products and materials from NC businesses. Contact with
business owners indicate that in-state buying of components, materials,
and accessories is growing – and the in-state business owners like the
idea. Over 90% of the 120 NC boatbuilders are family owned and operated,
and the buying decision made for the company incorporate quality, cost,
availability and growing personal relationships with the seller.
The growth and expansion of the entire NC industry reflects this trend.
The Marine Trades Services is a program of the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC). The SBTDC is a business development service of The University of North Carolina operated in partnership with the US Small Business Administration.