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Updates on COVID-19
 

Here you can find helpful information on Covid-19, it's effects on your business, and resources to best manage your business through this time of uncertainty. 

This page is updated as new information becomes available. Scroll down to view past updates.


Click the the update below to jump to update. 

 
10.15.20 - COVID-19 UPDATE #22

Don't be surprised if you reach into your mailbox and find your ballot in the next day or two. If you are looking for a candidate to support or are confused by the names on your ballot, reach out to Peter Schrappen (peter@nmta.net) and he can help you find info on how to vote and share info on who has the better record on business, labor and the environment.

Pro tip: If you want to stop getting candidate mailers and texts, return your ballot right away. Candidates match their marketing info to the voter rolls and will delete your name from future communications.

Speaking of the government, there appears to be no action around more federal stimulus funding for businesses (or anyone else for that matter). The conventional wisdom that nothing will happen until after the election.

 As we settle into fall, unfortunately, COVID-19 numbers are on the rise in Washington state, around the county and across the world. One key number to track is the “r naught” number. That number has to do with how many people an infected person infects. If the number is less than one, then cases should not be rising. Today, that number is 1.4 infections per infected person for Western Washington and 1.6 for King County. And the line graph is on the upswing.

Who out there is in sales? Hopefully, all hands are up at this point. After all, to sell is human as this must-read exhorts. Speaking of sales, Soundings Trade Only has a recent article (“Selling in the COVID Economy”) all about transforming your sales tactics. For example, “Slide decks should have no more than 25 words per slide, and retailers should avoid sharing screens with the slides for the entire call. “That way they can focus on one thing at a time, versus the person talking and the slide deck.”

 Here are a couple of other nuggets that grabbed our attention:

  • Thinking about retailers, Matt Gruhn, MRAA’s head, grabbed attention with this recent blog post that “inventory levels won’t normalize for more than a year.” (LINK)
    • 81 percent of dealers suggested they were either "very low" or completely out of new unit inventory.
       
  • BNSF has reconsidered how they will go about the future of their bridge near the Ballard Locks. They are going forward with a major repair effort on the existing facility. What’s more, the current tie-up for boaters will not be compromised with this “back to the future” approach. Link for more info here (LINK).
     
  • Speaking of the Ballard Locks, the large lock is now closed for maintenance. Before you throw something at your computer screen, we are partially responsible for this closure. Lobbying efforts resulted in funding from our Congressional delegation to repair the Hiram Chittenden Locks. The large lock is closed until December 6, 2020.
     
  • Even with COVID-19 numbers on the increase, Gov. Inslee moved five counties into Phase 2 (LINK) yesterday.
    • “This (change) comes after Gov. Inslee had put a pause on the reopening process statewide in July, effectively freezing the progression through phases of his Safe Start plan. As of Tuesday, exceptions have now been made to that freeze, allowing Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Douglas, and Chelan counties to move into Phase 2.”
    • Speaking of reopening, Washington state received national attention as a state that’s doing it right. From this article (“Which states had the best pandemic response?”) in yesterday’s Politico, check out “Seattle’s urban success story.” (LINK)
That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

-NMTA Staff
 
 
9.30.20 - COVID-19 UPDATE #21

After taking a month off, NMTA’s updates are back. While the national headlines look daunting with now over 200,000 Americans having perished from COVID-19, good news greets you with this update on the home front with COVID-19 numbers looking more positive than with previous NMTA updates.

More specifically, COVID-19 numbers are moving in the right direction in our state, which makes it easier for students to return to school and PAC-12 football now set to start on November 6. 

More positive news is coming your way with boat sales numbers. Plus, the Northwest Marina & Boatyard Conference is right around the corner so don’t tarry. Get registered today! There’s a lot in this update so please pull up a chair and grab a beverage.

As we think about COVID-19 trendlines, ever wonder what info Governor Inslee looks at to make decisions? That info is contained here in this user-friendly dashboard on key metrics like testing and infection and death rates.

Looking for the latest on boat sales? NMTA receives regular updates from University of Washington’s Sea Grant program that makes it easy to determine how many sales are taking place. In units, registered new boats are up 5.41% January - July 2020 compared to January - July 2019. Brokerage boat sales (units) January - July 2020 have ticked upward slightly compared to 2019. If these numbers pique your interest, take a look here, at some helpful graphs on the subject.

When it comes to clicking, don’t stop there. The Northwest Marina & Boatyard Conference, presented by Marine Floats is right around the corner. Join us on October 8 - 9 for a jam-packed two-day blitz through various boating and marine business topics like:

  • “How to prevent fires in your marina”
  • “What are the boating trends in Washington state and across the country”  
  • “What’s the state of the economy as I’ve got a bunch of decisions to make and I want to know” to name just three.

    NMTA and our co-host Washington Public Ports Association has added more seminars and more national big names and slashed the attendance fees thanks to our sponsors at Marine Floats, Fisheries Supply, All City Fence, Center of Excellence of Marine Manufacturing & Technology, and Bellingham Marine Industries. Do not delay in getting registered.

Here are a couple of other articles that grabbed our attention:

  • Congrats to NMTA member Pure Watercraft for the splash it made in its series A funding: “Pure Watercraft ramps up its electric outboard motors with a $23M series A” (LINK)
  • Trade Only’s “Boat Sales Up, Customer Satisfaction down” (LINK)
    • To that, MRAA’s Matt Gruhn says, “Keep your customers front of mind” (LINK)
    • Not to be outdone, industry leader Bill Yeargin shares his thoughts in “Leadership Made Easy” in this piece in Soundings
      • If nothing else, look at the TED Talk that Bill showcases. It’s the third most watched video on this popular platform about getting to the “why you exist first instead of focusing on what you do and how you do it” (Simon Sinek’s “How great leaders inspire action” (LINK))
  • “A tale of two holiday seasons: As a K-shaped recovery model emerges, consumer spending heavily bifurcated” (LINK)
    • Cliff Notes: Deloitte is forecasting that consumer spending will increase about 1.5 percent this holiday season.
    • Speaking on spending, yesterday Washington state released its revenue forecast. It’s about half as bad as predicted in June when the state’s economist last released their numbers
      • Cliff Notes: The rosier look for the next four years means that the state is looking at about $4 billion in more revenue than was expected in June. Here’s a link for more reading on this development (LINK).

There you have it. Over a page! So much to share. If you are looking for some fun “tv” tomorrow night, don’t miss Seattle Boat Show Live, which means just clicking here at 7:00 pm on Thursdays.

 
 
8.25.20 - COVID-19 UPDATE #20

After taking a couple of weeks off, NMTA’s COVID updates are back and ready to roll. Just as we put pen to paper here, the headline in today’s Soundings Trade Only that registrations are up 44% certainly brings smiles to your NMTA team’s faces. Plus, new boat sales have climbed 6 percent nationally (LINK).

Washington state sales data would indicate a COVID bump, too. More than 7,300 boats were sold in June in Washington, more than any month in the past 3 years, with used boats making up most of the sales. Not to be outdone, there were 8,200 boats sold in July. With all of these numbers flying around, here’s one more: 230. That is the number of new boats that were added to the entire fleet as sold by boat dealers.

As mentioned with previous updates, with these new numbers means new boaters to the water. Add to it the news that whales are in the area, and we have the make-up of crowded waters and stories hitting the airwaves like this one: “Pandemic + Cabin Fever + Boat Sales = Harassed Orcas” (LINK).

What are the laws in place to reduce boat and whale interactions? Thanks for asking.
Rules in Washington state include:

  • Stay at least 300 yards from endangered southern resident orcas and stay out of their path out to 400 yards.
  • Stay at least 200 yards from transient orcas.
  • Slow down to seven knots when within a half-mile of a southern resident orca.

And what’s not to love about this weather! Again, sunny skies lead to more people taking to the water.

On the flip side of this optimism comes the grim news that King County has seen an uptick in drownings (“Water rescue crews scramble amid deadliest August in years” (LINK). Meanwhile the Seattle City Council voted in recent weeks to not fund two of the 30 positions on the Seattle Harbor Patrol. Thinking about other issues we are working on, it is not too late to send a message to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife that commercial gillnets should not return to the Columbia River. Click here to sign onto the letter. Plus, there’s the Northwest Marina & Boatyard Conference, presented by Marine Floats, coming up October 8 - 9. While the agenda is set up with marina and boatyard operators in mind, the two-day schedule (especially the first day) would apply to all NMTA members. Please take a look (LINK).

Here are a couple of other articles and links that have grabbed our attention:

  • Do you have to travel for work? Check out these best practices put forward by the Mayo Clinic.
  • Looking for a comprehensive overview of the trade-offs in combating Covid-19? “The U.S. never resolved whether we were going for mitigation or suppression,” said Paul Romer, a No­bel laureate economist. (Wall Street Journal, (subscription required), LINK)
  • Where can I find the latest regulations for reopening my business safely? This page is updated regularly with the latest guidance by industry (Hat tip: Association of Washington Business)

And that’s a wrap for this week’s COVID update. Check out Seattle Boat Show Live this Thursday when co-hosts Peter Schrappen and Mark Bunzel will continue the boating conversation. Link to tune in here.

See you on the water, 

NMTA Staff


8.6.20 - COVID-19 UPDATE #19

Wondering how our state is doing with COVID-19? As of August 5, 2020, there are 60,084 total COVID-19 cases, 5,840 hospitalizations and 1,624 deaths in Washington since the pandemic began.

Oftentimes, we get asked, “How is our state doing with key COVID-19 indicators and what info does Gov. Inslee peruse to make his decisions?” We’ve put together this slideshow with user-friendly graphs that showcase the disease’s progression. (Did you know that the first reported case in Washington state occurred on January 21, 2020? It’s easy to lose track of key dates and what a ride 2020 continues to be.)

Lost a little in the shuffle between last week’s COVID-19 update (LINK) and today’s missive was the national economic news that dropped last week. New economic data last week showed the largest contraction of the American economy in history. In the second quarter, the economy shrunk by an annualized 33 percent.

How is business going for you?

As you think about that question, Soundings had this headline on August 1, 2020: “New boat sales up over 59 percent in April (LINK)."

In the article, you’ll see that new boat registrations declined 12.1 percent year-to-date and 9.2 percent year-over-year in the main powerboat categories. However, early sales data show new-boat sales strongly rebounded in May, up 59 percent compared to April and up 9 percent from pre-pandemic levels on a seasonally adjusted basis.

To put a finer point on this news, Discover Boating’s Freya Olson shared today on a conference call that 44,000 new boat owners have jumped into boating with both feet since the pandemic took hold. Freya reminded those on the call that with this influx of new boaters comes the responsibility of all of us that boating and safety go hand in hand. She pointed to Discover Boating’s website on safety as a resource that we should share with boaters of all shapes and sizes.

Like NMMA, MRAA has focused resources on new boaters. Today’s blog on their site is the perfect example (“Dealers Case Study: Be the Resource for New Boaters” (LINK)).

Thinking about the uptick in boating buzz, your staff at NMTA has also seen an uptick in boating interest and activity. Whether it’s open rates on these communications or the weekly Seattle Boat Show Live (Don’t miss this week’s show, which will feature boating updates and news around saving Lakebay Marina (LINK). To catch you up, this recent feature (“Washington State: A Case Study: The Evergreen State had one of America’s first Covid-19 deaths. What did marine industry professionals learn?”) in Soundings Trade Only summarizes the various activities going on at your association (LINK).

Ending on high note, after years and years of advocacy, President Trump signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act this week. At last, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has permanent funding, which provides money for boating access projects like Eddon Boat Park in Gig Harbor.

Also, Peter Schrappen spent time brushing up on his sales this past week by signing up for this free training by best selling author Bob Burg of Go-Giver fame (The Go-Giver: The Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea (LINK)). Learn all about providing immense value and creating the right environment for the buyer. After all, it’s all about “addressing their wants, needs and desires.”

Check out this four-part free sales training (“Selling: The Go-Giver Way”). If you go through the program, let Peter know! He likes to talk about Bob Burg and sales and he’s running out of people to talk about this subject now that his family has ordered new ear plugs.

That’s all for now. Hopefully you found value in this time together.

NMTA Staff

 
7.30.20 - COVID-19 UPDATE #18

The headline from Soundings Trade Only speaks for itself, “June boat registrations leap 20 percent.” (LINK)

Why the surge?

Let’s hear from NMMA’s lead statistician Vicky Yu. Quoting from her recent LinkedIn post, “The recreational boating industry is seeing heightened interest as more Americans seek boating as a way to enjoy quality time with loved ones while staying close to home, especially as summer camps, sports leagues, and vacations have been cancelled amid the pandemic. And new data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) points to this trend continuing – a huge opportunity for our industry to attract new entrants to the boating lifestyle.”

As we ride this wave together, there are plenty of ways to ensure that you are doing what you can to stay on top of all the moving parts that go with operating a marine business. Here are a couple of learning opportunities that grabbed our attention:

  • AMI has an upcoming session on “Coronavirus updates for marina operations” on August 12. Here’s how this session is described: Business guidance and legal requirements are changing rapidly. The CDC recently changed its guidance for discontinuing transmission-based precautions and disposition of patients with COVID-19. The changes impact when an employee may return to work. Mask mandates are becoming more widespread and enforcement can be a challenge.
  • Save the date for October 8-9 as we bring to you the Northwest Marina & Boatyard Conference, presented by Marine Floats. More details to come!
  • The Seattle Boat Show Live comes to life each Thursday night from 1900-2000. Here’s your invite to attend.
  • What’s allowed with the various phases of reopening? Look no further than right here, (LINK).
    • Do you want more data put into a clean line graph so you can see for yourself how Washington state is faring with COVID-19? Check out this LINK from the state’s user-friendly COVID-19 dashboard.

 
Getting this update to one page, a question we are constantly thinking about is how can we provide value. Hopefully, you are thinking about this same issue as it relates to your customers. It’s interesting to learn from this fresh perspective that value in the time of COVID-19 has changed in some ways and stayed the same in others. Take a listen here! While the subject matter is food and beverage choices, the findings are universal.

Thanks for reading,

NMTA Staff

 
7.22.20 - COVID-19 UPDATE #17

To start things off with, let’s get to this week’s news on boat sales for Washington state. We can report big numbers for the month of June. These sales were up an impressive 44.1% in units and 47.9% in value compared to June 2019. Wondering about brokerage boats for June? They were up 18.3% in units and down 10.9% in value.

We would encourage you to review the user-friendly table (LINK) that our partners at Washington Sea Grant put together that analyzes all of the boat sales data. Looking at the entire quarter, new boat sales for Q2 were down 6.8% in units and down 6.2% in value compared to 2019. No doubt you remember how boating and fishing came to a halt during this quarter as did in-store operations for many of our members. 

As well as the boating wave seems to be, Seattle Metro Chamber members heard from Chris Mefford, the economist who heads the think-tank Community Attributes, updated the Seattle Chamber today on the economic impact of COVID-19 to our region.  His presentation is as up-to-date as it gets (LINK to his presentation)!

With this influx of new boat sales, comes the exciting reality that new boaters are coming onto the boating scene. For those of us who have boated for decades, operating a boat may seem like second nature. For first-time buyers, however, keeping them comfortable with their boat at the outset of boat ownership means you have them as a client for life. MRAA shared these resources to prevent the churn of first-time boaters, especially within that first year of ownership (LINK).

First-time boat buyers were on the mind of NMMA’s President Frank Hugelmeyer, too. He penned an opinion piece for Fox Business that ran on July 16. “First-time boat buyers are on the rise as Americans are recognizing that boating is one of the safest and most accessible atmospheres to enjoy quality time with their loved ones and improve their mental health outlook during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hugelmeyer wrote. The piececan be read in full here.

Not to be outdone, look for a Seattle Boat Show Live webinar in the near future where co-hosts Peter Schrappen and Mark Bunzel explore how to make boating more friendly especially to neophyte boaters. Speaking of Seattle Boat Show Live, this Thursday from 1900-2000, we’ll offer updates on cruising in Puget Sound, Canada and Alaska. If you have an update for the show (and over 400 attendees who regularly watch), please email NMTA’s Peter Schrappen (peter@nmta.net). If you want to attend the webinar to see where cruising is hot, please sign up here (LINK).

When Peter isn’t prepping for Seattle Boat Show Live this week, he’s putting together an advocacy effort to keep the Seattle Police Department from the defund movement afoot. Not only is taking resources away from first responders on the land side problematic for the business community, SPD also houses the Harbor Patrol, which is the first call for marinas during a crisis. Simply put: Boating safety in Seattle is on the line here. Calling all Seattle NMTA members here before we close out this week’s update: Please take a moment to fill out this easy email to Seattle City Councilmembers to ask them to not defund the Harbor Patrol (LINK).

Thank you for your membership within NMTA,

NMTA Staff


7.15.20 - COVID-19 UPDATE #16

There was some big news yesterday. The first piece has to do with Gov. Inslee pressing pause on any counties moving up in their phased re-openings. This status quo designation will last until at least July 28.  Keep in mind about the added warning from the governor that there’s a “significant chance” that Washington will roll back re-openings (LINK), too. Are you interested to know what phase you are in? Here’s a map with a snapshot of where our state is with key metrics and a one-pager on what the different phases mean. If you have not read Gov. Inslee’s safe start plan, please do so.

On a more positive bent, the national lede yesterday was on the vaccine front. Healthy volunteers who took Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate appeared to generate an immune system response to the virus, and there were "no trial-limiting safety concerns," according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Within the past week, boating continues to garner the limelight amidst so much chaos around vacations, uncertainty, and discretionary incomes. We hope you saw this Fox Business news story from July 12, “Why boating is the perfect coronavirus recreation this summer: First-time boat buyers are on the rise” (LINK). Bolstering this was the more industry focused report that “May sets records for growth for new boat sales” (LINK). “NMMA reports new boat sales rebounded sharply in May, up 59% compared to April, and up 9% from pre-pandemic levels on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total sales in May were the highest they’ve been in a decade with upticks across all segments. Leading the growth were PWCs, saltwater fishing boats, and jet boats, which account for 41% of new boat sales annually. Also noteworthy, outboard engine shipments to boat builders increased for the second consecutive month through June.”
As optimistic as this news is, MRAA’s Matt Gruhn has some advice: “Slow down and create customers for life.” Here is a LINK to this thought leader’s latest blog. As we send this out, NMTA is waiting on Q2 sales figures, but we should have those data points for you in next week’s update.

Switching gears, are you wondering about the latest on the Canada - U.S. border? Yesterday’s story would indicate that it’s not opening any time soon (LINK). While Washington’s boaters can’t go north, they can enjoy north, central and south Puget Sound. NMTA’s Peter Schrappen and Waggoner Cruising Guide’s editor Mark Bunzel will showcase these cruising options on tomorrow’s Seattle Boat Show Live from 19:00-20:00 (Register here). The convivial hour flies by (sponsorship opportunities are available!). Don’t miss tomorrow’s edition where the panel will provide practical tips on how to find moorage or where to anchor. We will share our favorite destinations and an update on the best restaurants for dining outside or ordering take out to enjoy back on your boat. We will even tell you where to find the best prices for purchasing fuel.

That’s all for this week. Wear a mask (it’s now a requirement in Washington state) and stay safe on the water, applying these tips from the National Safe Boating Council.

Tight lines, and good luck to all who are fishing the Greater Seattle area Chinook salmon opener tomorrow! 

NMTA Staff


7.8.20 - COVID-19 Update #15

Hopefully by now, you perused the July 2nd article in The New York Times, “The Boat Business is booming: Dealers are in short supply as coastal Americans plan for more local summers.” As one buyer put it, “boats are sexier than sitting in your car”” (LINK).

As a follow-up to this feature, MRAA has launched an education series to ensure dealers deliver first-rate customer experiences. Dubbed “Operation: Keep Your Customers Boating,” the package includes blogs, a white paper, videos, a webinar, and more” (LINK).

There was more boating press last week to write home about. Q13 featured NMTA’s own Peter Schrappen on July 3 to tout the attributes of boating: Boater safety encouraged this 4th of July weekend; Coast Guard to conduct emphasis patrols as part of the larger Operation Dry Water campaign, which ran July 3-5.

There’s other news to share too. Did you know that today starts the statewide mandate to wear face coverings in all public spaces (LINK for more info)? If you are in the retail space, the Washington Retail Association has put together this advice on how to de-escalate situations should they get tense around this public health measure (LINK).

Are you a small business looking to tap into free resources? How about looking no further than the public library. Not sure where to start there? Here’s a primer: “Secret Weapon for Small Businesses Struggling through Pandemic: Seattle Public Library” (LINK).

We are pleased to report that salmon fishing is going full tilt in the San Juan’s and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Expect another week or two for that fishery to remain open. If you missed the portion of Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show stream with Chef Ethan Stowell talking all things harvested from the Pacific Northwest waters, that clip can be found at 5:55:12 of the show.

Speaking of streams, have you spent your Thursday evening with the crew of Seattle Boat Show Live? It’s a weekly dive into boating news and thoughtful conversation on the various aspects of boating. This week’s show promises to be a keeper with an update on whale watching and boating guidelines. If you would like to sponsor the show (that is, the entire show or just a portion, drop Peter Schrappen an email, peter@nmta.net).

Another interesting conversation that made the rounds last week was an interview with AirBnB’s founder and CEO about the future of travel and leisure. This quote jumped out as their founder looked to the future:

"What is the future of travel? I'm hoping that travel will get more focused on communities, more focused on people, more intimate, authentic, small, off the beaten path, truly being connected to the community on where you go, not being an outsider but being an insider. We used to live in this world where you lived in one place and you would take a week vacation somewhere else. I think that is also changing. I think living and traveling will blur together, living and traveling. I think you are going to see this blurring. The idea that people will be mobile. They just won't have mobile devices. They themselves will be mobile. Local, authentic, more immersive, I think you are going to see that travel will be for longer lengths of stay to smaller communities."
 
To us, that sounds a lot like boating in the Pacific Northwest.

Another important part of the future is ensuring that NMTA remains a vibrant marine trade association. Together, we are stronger than working in our silos. You don’t need to look any further than the success we’ve experienced advocating at the state, county and city levels. It was no accident that the state deemed marinas and boatyard workers essential or that boat ramps are open in Seattle or that boat dealers and brokers were part of the Phase One reopening. If you like what you are seeing from us and you haven’t returned your renewal form, we’d ask that you not delay.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading!

The suns out there (somewhere),

-NMTA Staff


6.30.20 - COVID-19 Update #14

As June turns into July, that can only mean one thing for anglers out there: Get ready! July 1 marks the opening of summer salmon fishing in the San Juans and Strait of Juan de Fuca (LINK to seasons). With over 60 percent of recreational boats used for fishing all or some of the time, it’s no wonder that even if you aren’t one of the salt or freshwater WDFW-licensed recreational anglers in the state, your customers and employees probably are.

Where to go for the most up-to-date info on fishing, shrimping and crabbing seasons? Keep a close look at WDFW’s site as the closures can happen fast if quotas are caught. Plus, there’s this handy pamphlet that WDFW released on June 26 for the July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 seasons that “features rules and regulations for hundreds of lakes, rivers, and marine areas around the state, as well as species including trout, salmon, shellfish, and many more.” Not to be outdone, check out Outdoor Line on 710 ESPN for fun weekly conversation about, well, as you can guess, outdoor boating and fishing (LINK).

As for other news we are tracking, recent powerboat registrations dropped 9.2 percent in May across the country (LINK) (there’s a lag when Washington state releases sales data). Just last week, we checked in with our colleagues at the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA). They shared that much has changed since May. In fact, they report that dealers can’t keep boats in stock. Coupled with the trends of PWCs and the empirical, common-sense attitude about boating as a leisure activity that’s in the backyard (fun fact: 96% of all boats are on trailers, in garages, or stored in backyards), you can see how optimistic the industry is about boating of all shapes and sizes.

That bullish attitude is certainly the tenor of the coalition of national boating powerhouses that have teamed up to offer “a unified front” (LINK), which offers enhanced Discover Boating materials. With all of the worrisome news out there about COVID-19, we're fortunate that it's an attractive time work in the boating industry.

Along the lines of optimism about boating, over 30 exhibitors joined NMTA staff last Thursday and Friday as part of the online Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show LIVE. In case you missed the show, it’s not too late to check out the show now. Over 150 new and brokerage boats and products are still featured on the show site Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show LIVE (LINK) and the exhibitors are happy to connect any way you like (by appointment, in-person, or via Zoom.) While nothing replaces an in-person boat show, we are happy our Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show exhibitors have the skills and technology to connect LIVE with customers, before, during and after the online boat show. Also, in case you missed any of the “Ask the Experts” segments, you can find them here (LINK). Over 26 interviews await with various updates on the boating industry with a visit with Chef Ethan Stowell and an overview of wine appreciation thrown in, too.

Thinking about other news, hopefully you saw that Gov. Inslee has required masks for various activities, (from The Seattle Times: “Inslee orders face covering to be worn in public” (LINK). When in doubt, wear a mask. While we are praising AWB, check out their Rebound and Recovery page that has a PPE portal with access to local producers and suppliers of face masks, rated masks, and other key gear to help businesses reopen safely and quickly.
Another website we would encourage you to bookmark is the “comprehensive safe recovery procedures and links for reopening your business during COVID-19” from the Washington Retail Association (LINK)

Outside of boating per se, this New York Times article grabbed our attention: “This time-management trick changed my whole relationship with time” (LINK). Paraphrasing here: Look at your schedule as intervals of 25 minutes, with five-minute breaks in between — 25 minutes on, five minutes off, over and over again to unleash productivity.
At this point, now might be the perfect time for a break.
 
Tight lines,
NMTA Staff
 
P.S. As we head into this holiday weekend, we want to wish everyone a happy and healthy 4th of July. Also, this weekend coincides with Operation Dry Water. More info on this campaign to keep boaters safe can be found here: LINK


6.16.20 - COVID-19 Update #13

Good evening, 

It’s hard not to have a sense of optimism when today’s headlines shout, “U.S. May retail sales surge 17.7% in the biggest monthly jump ever” (LINK). Or how about our country cousins in the RV industry enjoying their moment in the sun with this feature in The New York Times from late last week, “Worried about social distancing when traveling? Join the Crowd and Rent an R.V.” (LINK).

Closer to home for us is the impressive collaboration going on between the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA). Recently, they “launched an industry-wide campaign to share the benefits of boating and fishing at a time many are seeking the stress-relief, togetherness, and outdoor fun these activities provide.” This effort is all part of the national Discover Boating program that put together this fun spot to showcase the buzz around boating (LINK).

On the fishing and shrimping side, we’ve enjoyed access to Washington state’s reopened waters in the last several weeks. First, we are encouraged to see the influx of boat traffic at the Seattle boat ramps enjoying Central Sound’s shrimping last week. Plus, “the waters where the Pacific Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca will reopen to saltwater fishing on June 20” (LINK). And just as we go to “print” here, Seattle Parks has announced All boat ramps will be open to the public by June 20” (here). Yippee!

Interested in traveling to Alaska from the U.S? Good news exists there, too. Alaska has removed the quarantine requirement for travelers who can show proof of a negative molecular-based COVID-19 test result obtained 72 hours before arriving in Alaska. More info here (LINK). Speaking of traveling, the U.S. - Canada border remains closed until at least July 21 (LINK).

Looking to attend or exhibit at a (virtual) boat show? Hopefully by now you have seen the advertising associated with Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show LIVE (LINK), which runs June 25-26. Over 30 exhibitors and 100 boats will take part in this unique experience. Please stop by, say hi, pop around the show and spend some time with our live stream programming.

As you can see, big issues continue to take place for us to monitor and engage in. COVID-19, the reopening of the economy, and the health of you all is top of mind. More and more, the word ‘endemic’ is entering the lexicon, meaning that this novel coronavirus will be with us for some time even if and when a vaccine is developed. As you think about the data, one tip is to keep track of hospitalizations (LINK) versus any other data points (like number of cases).

Then there is the ongoing shift in public opinion taking place around race in the United States. A real and discernible change is taking place among public opinion so much so that pollster and often-quoted star of public opinion Frank Luntz said, "In my 35 years of polling, I've never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply. We are a different country today than just 30 days ago.” (LINK). Time will tell the staying power of this change but it is worth taking note.

As we bring to a close this edition of the COVID-19 update (edition 13!), we found these resources from Washington Retail Association (LINK) helpful for members. They continue to help us all get better acquainted with this new 2020 life. Quoting from their newsletter, “As part of your reopening plan from COVID-19, it would be a good idea to post related signs in your workplace.” While specific signs are not required, here are some suggestions from which to choose:

For the employee areas:

For public areas:

There’s also a tool to calculate based on square footage of selling space, that may be of help. We also have a Safety Operational Plan checklist to make sure you have followed all the steps and processes required to remain open. As part of your daily routine, check around your store that the additional signage requirements are met.
 
That’s all from us for this week.

See you at Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show Live!

6.10.20 - COVID-19 Update #12

Paradox. That’s a word that we keep coming back to time and time again. “On the one hand… on the other” starts and ends innumerable conversations for us. Take, for example, the push and pull of the economy. While today’s papers indicate that a recession started in February, signs point to strong sales in the RV industry, (“Airstream reports a positive net cash from operations for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020” (LINK)). Probably no surprise to you, boats and RVs often mirror each other with sales figures and trend lines.

There’s more to share in this confusing world. According to an NBC poll released on Sunday, 80% of voters say the U.S. is spiraling out of control (LINK). In that same breath, we then must share yesterday’s headline that “the Nasdaq hit 10,000 for the first time ever (LINK)”. While we know that the stock market is not the economy (“Don’t think a great stock market means we’ve got a great economy” (LINK)), it sure beats the alternative.

Speaking of the economy, seven Washington counties are now in Phase 3. You can see what phase your county is in here (LINK). What that means at the very least is that all businesses need to have a safety plan like this one in place (LINK). While there’s no need to submit your safety plan, have it accessible and be proud of it.
 
Did you know, per a recent Governor Inslee proclamation, Washington businesses are required to post a sign requiring customers to wear a mask? Not to fear if you don’t have a sign as handy as this one courtesy of the Washington Food Industry Association.
 
When it comes to consumer sentiment, this recent national survey provides an interesting snapshot. “Even as states and localities look to lift stay-at-home mandates, consumers are cautious about when they believe things will return to normal. More than one-third expect stores will be open again in June. However, the majority say it will be July or later before they feel comfortable shopping in stores again (LINK).” To paraphrase that survey, there’s a direct relationship between consumers visiting your store and the amount of time you spend reassuring them that you are meeting COVID-19 head-on.

At some point, you might wonder, “What if I get a call from Labor and Industries that I am operating my business incorrectly?” This question came up during a call with the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce and L&I’s response was, “Those not complying with regulations will first receive an educational call and a "do not do this again" warning, the second time will be a $9,627 fine.” 

Switching gears here, Congress has stepped up in the last week with some important bipartisan wins for boating and business (We bet that wasn’t a sentence you’d thought you’d see today). They are now set to approve the Outdoor Recreation Act, which would permanently fund the boating-friendly Land and Water Conservation Fund (LINK). Also, since our last message to you, Congress has approved sweeping changes to the Paycheck Protection Plan portion of the CARES Act, which will provide more flexibility to small businesses that have these loans/grants (“Congress approves sweeping changes to PPP" (LINK).  

Closer to home, NMTA put our official stamp on the Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show Live on June 25-26, coming to a computer near you. Stay tuned for this one-of-a-kind boat show memorable experience! Exhibitor information can be found here

Hopefully by now you have joined us for Seattle Boat Show Live on Thursday evenings. Last week, about 400 people participated as we celebrated the fact that the San Juan Islands are open for boating (LINK for guidance from San Juan County). Mark Bunzel of Waggoner Cruising Guide surveyed the lay of the land for us and broke this news for us all.  You can watch this and previous editions here

Not to be outdone, this Thursday (LINK), Mark will lead the conversation about what’s going on in Canada (spoiler alert, the Canada - U.S. border remains closed for the foreseeable future, but NMTA member Pacific Yacht Management did recently help a recreational boat get to Alaska.) The template now exists for boats looking to head to Alaska without stopping in BC. If you are getting questions about traveling to Alaska, send them to Peter Schrappen (peter@nmta.net). 

Wrapping up here, if you are looking to hear what former NMTA President Michael Campbell and his wife Debbie are up to, Peter Schrappen has a recent podcast interview with them here (LINK). Also, Peter wanted to share a concise way to look at COVID-19 numbers from around the country and world. Jack Wilken of Seattle Boat Works shared this resource from Johns Hopkins with him and now it’s here for you (LINK).

Until next time, mask up and tight lines,

NMTA Staff

6.3.20 - COVID-19 Update #11

Obviously, it’s been hard to process the tragic death of George Floyd. Please know that NMTA staff is part of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council (RBLC) that has strived to make boating more inclusive since 2012. Fortunately, RBLC is already in place and we are pleased to have Matt Gruhn of Minneapolis-based Marine Retail Association of Americans (MRAA) stepping forward in recent days to add renewed energy to this important topic. NMTA will update you as we make progress to make boating more inclusive and diverse.

Looking to the changes to our industry as it relates to COVID-19, NMTA has shifted gears on how we are operating. What’s worked in the past looks different today and will probably look quite different tomorrow. That’s especially true as we think about NMTA-produced boat shows.

It is within this context that we want you to know that our successful in-person Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show has moved completely online. That’s right, because of the limits to crowds, the June 25-26 Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show LIVE (LINK) will be an entirely online experience with live buyer-to-seller communication. We couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store. Yes, NMTA will spearhead this new endeavor, but we have also enlisted the expertise of IPG Tech, the event technology firm hired by the Gates Foundation for their marquee events, to ensure that this event runs smoothly. If you have questions or want to exhibit, please reach out to Katie McPhail (KatieMc@nmta.net).
 
The good news does not stop there. Just as we are famous for producing boat shows, we also realize how important government affairs advocacy is to you, boaters and the overall industry. It’s with this lens that we want you to know that NMTA successfully led the coalition, which included RBAW and BoatUS, to reopen the two Seattle saltwater boat ramps (the Don Armeni and Eddie Vine (Golden Gardens) ramps) last Saturday (LINK).
 
(As an aside, did you know that producing a boat show and organizing to fight a government affairs (tax) issue were the two reasons boating businesses came together in 1947 to form NMTA? All along our 73 years, we have not strayed from these founding principles but we have learned to adapt. We are always trying to get better at what we already do well and as the world changes, so do we.)
 
The bottom line is that NMTA’s nimble staff is not sitting on the sidelines. Rather, we are in the game and impacting the score for the betterment of the entire association.
 
And it’s working. Just last week, NMTA applauded the recent good news that overnight camping and moorage in state parks in 22 counties (LINK) is now allowed. (We would encourage you to monitor how Washington state handles camping at State Parks. As camping goes, so goes boating with State Parks.)
 
What we have also found in these last several months is that now more than ever before is a time to accelerate change. There’s no time like the present to take a hard look at what’s working and not and to change the design. Fortunately, you are not alone there either.
 
For example, are you a manufacturer interested in learning more about exporting to other countries including Canada? If so, Washington State’s Department of Commerce has grants (that’s free money!) to award you (LINK). From our contact at the Department of Commerce, “The export assistance team at Commerce has developed additional activities to help Washington State small manufacturers find new opportunities. Working closely with the Small Business Administration, we have added several new activities in response to COVID-19 impact. The maximum amounts for the STEP grant have been raised. Highlights include:

  • Optimize your website, search engine optimization or localization, or offset costs related to digital collateral, virtual factory tours and digital demos.
  • Search for partners, lead generation & virtual matchmaking prior to attending international trade events.
  • Attend virtual events to stay connected and find new opportunities.

Closing up here, more and more counties are now eligible for Phase 2. If you are curious what that means for your business, the Washington Retail Association has a Webinar recording here for you.
 
We would love to hear how we can better serve you and what you need (e.g. human resource questions, federal-state-local resources on unemployment benefits, an open US-Canada border (we're working on it as are our friends in the Anacortes Marine Trades Group) and anything else on your mind.
 
Thank you for reading and spending some time with us today. Don’t forget to tune in to Seattle Boat Show LIVE on Thursday for the latest in boating in the Northwest (LINK).
 
Sincerely,
 
NMTA Staff
 
P.S. We want to thank those members who have already renewed their membership!  If you haven’t renewed yet we encourage you to renew as soon as you can. We do not want to lose a single member! If money is extra tight this year, please do not cancel. We want to work with you on options for your renewal. If you have any questions please contact Alashia Wartelle (alashia@nmta.net). Again, we hate losing any of our 726 member businesses. Together, we are stronger.

5.27.20 - COVID-19 Update #10

Let’s kick things off with positive news: U.S. consumer confidence stabilized in May (LINK) as states rolled back lock-down mandates and nonessential businesses reopened.

Closer to home, boating continues to see an increase in popularity around the country. In fact, according to GasBuddy’s Annual Summer travel survey, 36% of respondents are canceling trips that require flying, and 24% plan to make shorter trips by distance. That survey bodes well for us (more info on the survey here - LINK), especially when you see how popular boating terms have scored in various search engines (LINK).

On the flip side of this sunshine, the Conference Board, which keeps track of consumer confidence for us, cautioned that a second coronavirus wave could increase uncertainty and dampen consumers’ outlook (and spending) long term (LINK).

What that means is that business as usual (i.e. life prior to Gov. Inslee’s "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order (which took effect 63 days ago)) is over. Where does that leave us? From a marketing perspective, peruse this recent interview from Forbes magazine (“How COVID-19 is changing the language of marketing” (LINK). The expert encourages marketers (that’s you) to stop using the word "unprecedented." As he says, move on from, "we’re here for you" to, "here’s how we can help" and go beyond "we’re in this together" to talking about what you are actually doing.

From a tactical perspective, take advantage of resources on how to operate safely in this new world. If you interact with consumers, familiarize yourself with the guidelines from Gov. Inslee that comprise Phase II (LINK). Also, attend this webinar tomorrow (May 28) produced by our friends at the Washington Retail Association that will cover safe re-opening tips and best practices (LINK). While you are at it, print out the Retail COVID Safety Operational Plan for your company.

For our marina members, Association of Marine Industries (AMI) has created a plethora (big word!) of compelling content. More specifically:

 
If you are looking to connect with real life humans to talk boating and build community in our area, please be our guest on the weekly webinar series Seattle Boat Show Live, where NMTA V.P. Peter Schrappen hosts and features updates from NMTA member Mark Bunzel and his team at Waggoner Cruising Guide. This week’s episode starts tomorrow (Thursday, 5/28) at 7:00 p.m. with an update from Mark and then Peter will interview our state’s Boating Program Manager (who doubles as Washington state’s Boating Law Administrator) Rob Sendak on what he’s hearing and seeing around the Sound. Rob will include updates on what’s open and not and what’s coming down the road. Plus, he will explain why our state is not moving forward with one single reopening boating policy around the state but rather different boating policies for what opens and doesn’t. You can register here (LINK).
 
In closing, Peter Schrappen wanted to share this recent article from the New Yorker. Peter has paid close attention to this writer, Dr. Atual Gawande, for 14 years. This most recent article (“Amid the Coronavirus, a regimen for reentry”) is making the rounds at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and offers sound advice from a medical perspective on how to combat COVID-19 (LINK). (“The four pillars of our strategy (to combat COVID-19) —hygiene, distancing, screening, and masks—will not return us to normal life, but, when signs indicate that the virus is under control, they could get people out of their homes and moving again. Culture is the fifth, and arguably the most difficult, pillar of a new combination therapy to stop the coronavirus."
 
There we go again. More than one page. There’s just too much good stuff happening. We hope to see you tomorrow (Thursday) evening as part of the Seattle Boat Show Live festivities.
 
See you on the water,
 
NMTA Staff

5.20.20 - COVID-19 Update #9

Today marks 58 days since Gov. Inslee issued the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Executive Order. In breakneck speed, businesses, like yours, had to either shut down or, for those deemed “essential” from the outset, figure out how to operate safely in this new world.

So, where are we? You are in Phase One of Washington’s four-phase approach for reopening (cheat sheet here (LINK) (that is, unless you live in a more rural county listed here). More specifically, what that hopefully means is that you have strategized about what the future looks like. This document from our partners at the Washington Retailers Association is a good place to start, thinking big picture (LINK). For boatyards, marinas, people who repair vessels and, more recently, retailers who can offer curbside pick-up and boat dealers and brokers who can keep themselves and their customers safe and are open for business, Gov. Inslee has moved you into the “you are now able to reopen” bucket.

Even if you are allowed to reopen, you will still want to have an updated safety plan that addresses COVID-19 concerns. For example, here is a comprehensive safety guide to operating your boating business (LINK), here’s one for curb-side retail pick-up (LINK) and a general safety operational workplan (LINK). If you are a marina, you will want to check this guide out (“Best Practices in Marina Operations”) (LINK).

While these plans may seem onerous at first blush, please keep in mind that consumers are going to want to have confidence in your establishment before they wander in. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is going the extra mile to reassure consumers that their businesses are clean. While not directly related, it’s helpful to know what other companies (with much bigger budgets) are doing to grow their business (“Enterprise, desperate for rentals, launches car cleaning campaign” (LINK).

Looking for more good news? Boating is open, as is the NMTA-produced OpenforBoating.com website (LINK). In fact, NMTA’s President George Harris was on camera yesterday (LINK) with KOMO’s Denise Whitaker to tout the various boating opportunities. Kudos to NMTA’s Karsten McIntosh for pulling all the right levers to get these boating resources up for boaters.

NMTA is not resting on the success we’ve experienced getting a segment of our members and boaters and anglers up and running. Peter Schrappen, NMTA’s Government Affairs Director & VP, continues to press the City of Seattle to open all of their launch ramps. Check out the recent letter NMTA sent to the City of Seattle (LINK). Additionally, we are monitoring the opening of shrimping. While we don’t have a firm date yet, we remain optimistic that the state still has their sights set for late May for shrimping in some marine areas.

As for boating resources and general information, I don’t know about you, but there sure seems to be a lot of info flying around. It’s our hope that this weekly one-page email (If you aren’t caught up, please visit our webpage that contains our previous weekly communications (LINK)) is useful and that you can adopt the various plans as you look ahead.

  • Case in point: Did you know that the American Boating Congress, that’s the annual national event typically held in Washington, DC, occurred on May 13-14? If not, that’s okay. Thanks to our friends at NMMA, who by the way have stood out for the boating coverage as it relates to COVID-19 (LINK), have shared the PowerPoints with two crisp links.

In particular, these two links stood out for us and are getting our “seal of approval”. This info is especially relevant to those members who want an update on the boating industry. If tidy line graphs are your thing, then spend time playing around with these trend lines.

 
Wow, just like that, we’ve broken our “one-page update”. In closing, if you are looking for a Seattle Boat Show Live update for this Thursday, you will have to wait until Thursday, May 28. In the meantime, NMTA member Mark Bunzel and his team at Waggoner Cruising Guide have an informative 30 minutes in store from 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm on Thursday, May 21. You can RSVP here (LINK).
 
Thanks for reading, stay safe on the water and tight lines,

NMTA Staff

5.12.20 - COVID-19 Update #8 - NMTA Premieres OpenForBoating.com

Good afternoon,

Have you had a chance to visit NMTA’s new website OpenForBoating.com? Kudos to NMTA Dir. of Communications Karsten McIntosh for launching this website late last week to help boaters better understand where they can go boating and how they can do it safely, while also providing an opportunity for new boaters to educate themselves on getting into boating. Get to know the site and please share with your customers and on any social media or communication channels you have. If you have any suggestions or feedback you can submit them directly through the “Ask a Question” and “Contact” forms on the website.

Hopefully you know that Gov. Inslee continues to bring back more and more aspects of boating and marine trades. Last week, we talked about the plan for boat brokers and dealers to return to work sooner rather than later. Now with the gorgeous weekend of boating in our rearview mirror, it is gratifying to see the demand to get back on the water. As we’ve said, boating provides a type of antidote for COVID-19. And there’s no middle seat!

So you’ve perused Open for Boating and your interest is piqued. Take a look at the recorded premier of Seattle Boat Show Live from last week where NMTA Dir. of Government Affairs Peter Schrappen interviewed the publishing and editing team of Waggoner Cruising Guide on boating during the COVID-19 pandemic (LINK).

As for this week’s edition of Seattle Boat Show Live, the state’s Boating Program Manager & Boating Law Administrator Rob Sendak will join us on Thursday, May 14 at 7 p.m. If you are fielding questions on boating safety and how to boat safely in this new world, imagine what our state’s top staffer who oversees marine law enforcement’s day is like. As serious as this topic is, Rob offers a fun vision to boating and how safe boating is fun boating. You can register here (LINK).

But wait, there’s more.
The annual American Boating Congress (ABC) (LINK) is this week, May 13-14. What’s the American Boating Congress, you ask?

ABC is the annual advocacy and conference experience in Washington, D.C. designed for boating leaders. These two days peek into the industry with updates and briefings all with an advocacy lens. Instead of flying to D.C. this year, the hosts, NMMA, have brought ABC to you. Plus, Washington state will be featured in one of the breakouts. Click here to view and download the ABC 2020 program. According to NMMA, “This year’s annual advocacy summit is as important and timely as ever.”

As we have shared in previous updates (LINK), now is the time to adopt a safety plan for your business. If you are unsure of where to start, check out this new 58-page guide that walks dealers, brokers, marina operators and boatyard owners through a process (LINK). This Marine Retailers Association of the Americas-led effort features three sections: Your Business, Your Customers, and Your Employees (LINK). This resource includes articles, tips, best practices, downloads, PDFs for print, and spreadsheets for your use.

Speaking of boat dealers and brokers, did you know that Gov. Inslee has included you in this current Phase 1 opening? As part of this new beginning, think about and adopt a new safety plan (see the above plan) but also reach out to Peter Schrappen (Peter@nmta.net) with your questions.

Wrapping up here, it’s always a good idea to check NMTA’s Twitter feed (@NMTA) and the hashtag #NMTACOVID.

Stay safe, stay healthy. 

- NMTA Staff

5.4.20 - COVID-19 Update #7 - Boat sales are back!

Dear NMTA Member, 

Just as we had positive news to report with last week’s COVID-19 update (LINK) that boating and fishing are reopening in a limited manner on Tuesday, May 5, this week gets started with an important announcement today that boat sales can begin the process to reopen. There are still details to sort out, but the fact that boat sales are on the same level as car sales is big news and different from what we had heard in Friday’s announcement from the Governor. 

Maybe this news story on KIRO-7 that featured NMTA President George Harris from Saturday evening helped Gov. Inslee include us or NMTA’s advocacy efforts that included this memo sent to Gov. Inslee and his team last evening (LINK). Or maybe it was the support of our friends at the Washington Retail Association for advocating on our behalf, too. Or maybe a combo of all of the above. Regardless, boat dealers and brokers received some needed good news today that boat sales can begin by May 15 (LINK to the formal proclamation, note page four), and we are appreciative of the governor for bringing boat sales back online. 

Speaking of the reopening of businesses, this past AWB webinar (LINK to the webinar’s highlights) was another good reminder how important it's going to be for businesses to develop new safety plans for its employees and customers. If you’d like to see what’s available for retail, manufacturing, boatyards and other sectors, please drop Peter Schrappen a line (Peter@Nmta.net
 
As for boating and fishing, which can begin anew on May 5 in a limited fashion, here are some resources and guidelines that the governor, State Parks, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Boat US have shared with us. 

  • Updated list from State Parks on what marine parks are open and closed (HERE
  • Info from WDFW on fishing opportunities and how to boat safely (LINK)
  • Infographic that you can post from Boat US on safe boating (LINK)

We're excited to be launching a robust digital advertising campaign this week that will run for a month promoting boating and letting the public know that we're back in business. Be sure to look for our ads as you browse the web and social media platforms. We'll also be launching a new website for boaters to go to get all of the information they need to boat responsibly and follow current guidelines. 

Wrapping up here, if you find yourself frustrated that you are not getting the info you need about your business, please contact Peter Schrappen to see how he can help (Peter@Nmta.net). 

Also, don’t forget about the world premier of Seattle Boat Show Live this Thursday, May 7 at 7:00 pm. Waggoner Cruising Guide’s Mark Bunzel will lay out what boating looks like in the near future. Included in this hour-long special event will be sample itineraries and frequently asked questions about boating best practices. You can register here (LINK). 

In the meantime, see you on the water (starting tomorrow),

NMTA Staff

4.28.20 - COVID-19 Update #6

We hope you saw the big news coming from Gov. Inslee on what the immediate future looks like for recreational boating and fishing. His remarks were encouraging and set the path for a safe and responsible partial reopening of boating on May 5. The specific boating and fishing guidance is located here (LINK, pages 3-4).

At the highest level, Gov. Inslee based this reopening on the fact that boaters would need to adhere to safety guidelines (i.e. only boat with people from your same household, no large gatherings, no rafting up and remembering to wash hands and high-touch surfaces often). Plus, the governor is continuing to watch COVID-19 cases. Should there be a spike, we can expect that tighter restrictions will return. 

Here are some more specifics and resources:

  • Mooring buoys run by State Parks will not be available for overnight usage. 
  • “WDFW to reopen some recreational fishing on May 5” (LINK)
    • Specifically, lingcod fishing reopens May 5 in most Puget Sound areas and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Marine Areas 5-7, 8-1, 8-2, 9, 10, 11 and 13)
  • For additional updates in real time, please visit the @NMTA twitter handle and look for #NMTACOVID. For fishing opportunities, follow @WDFW and their hashtag #ResponsibleRecreation 
  • The U.S. - Canada border remains closed for recreational vessels and car traffic. We are in touch with Sens. Cantwell and Murray about its reopening. 
  • From yesterday’s guidelines from the governor: “Employees necessary to operate marinas, boatyards, boat launches and boat rentals are authorized” (to return to work).”

One thing is certain: Each NMTA business is going to need to get comfortable with a safety plan. NMTA has shared these plans with lawmakers and the governor’s team. Please take a moment and review the guidelines that have come across our desks. If you are a manufacturer, the NMMA plan is here (LINK). For retailers, you will want to see this link (Here). These plans will interest boatyards (Here and Here).

You can be assured that NMTA’s staff is in constant contact with Governor Inslee’s office and state agencies. For example on Wednesday, NMTA Pres. George Harris and V.P. Peter Schrappen will participate in a two hour exercise with WDFW to shape what upcoming fishing opportunities look like.

All of this positive news (Breaking news: Washington state parks, recreational fishing to reopen May 5, Inslee says (with quotes from NMTA) (LINK)) should be qualified that this reopening will be like a light dimmer getting turned up gradually. This metaphor is true for boating, fishing and working in this post-COVID-19 world. Plus, this progress could be put on hold if COVID-19 spikes back up. 

In closing, stay tuned for the premier of Seattle Boat Show Live. This online event will occur on Thursday, May 7 at 7:00 pm and will feature Waggoner Cruising Guide’s editor and publisher Mark Bunzel who will lay out what boating looks like in the near future. Included in this hour-long special event will be sample itineraries and frequently asked questions about boating best practices. 

If you have specific questions about your business or recreation, please send them to Peter Schrappen (Peter@nmta.net) . 

See you on the water (from a safe distance),
 
NMTA Staff
 
P.S. The NMTA Annual Meeting, which was recorded on April 15, is as relevant as ever. Spend an hour with us here (LINK).

4.21.20 - COVID-19 Update #5

A big thank you to the over 100 members who joined us for the NMTA Annual meeting last Wednesday, April 15. We covered a lot of ground in the hour. NMTA President George Harris, NMTA Vice President Peter Schrappen and NMMA’s Sr. Vice President Nicole Vasilaros updated members on the state of the recreational boating industry, which included a legislative debrief and an overview of the CARES Act. If you happened to miss this special event, you can find it here.

Please note, this is the fifth edition of our weekly COVID-19 communication. If you missed previous emails, you can find them here. Returning to the FAQ format we used last week, here are some questions that we are hearing from members and the general public. 

Why is recreational fishing closed in Washington state?

  1. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind answered this question in an interview on March 28, 2020 with The Outdoor Line on 710 ESPN, which you can find here (“WDFW Director Kelly Susewind on the statewide fishing closure” (LINK). In this conversation, he cites three reasons to take this unprecedented action:
    1. He was not able to provide the salmon monitors on vessels while maintaining social distancing.
      1. Salmon monitoring and sampling is needed to stay within the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements. 
    2. Once WDFW closed this fishery, they saw pressure from anglers ascending on other fisheries. Director Susewind did not want to see a concentration of anglers in just a few areas. 
    3. Speaking to closing fishing on private docks and dipping a line in the water at a pier, he did not think that this was an equitable approach given that fish are a state resource and not everyone has this same access to this resource if people are using their private docks. 

What is NMTA doing to reopen boating, fishing, and marine businesses?

    • NMTA and seven boating and fishing organizations sent this letter to Governor Inslee today. 
    • Stay tuned later this week for an action alert to reopen our state to boating and fishing. Sending this message to Governor Inslee will take about ninety seconds. 
    • MRAA, one of our partner organizations, has put forward these safe boating practices and business guidelines (“29 tips” -  LINK) and “Communicating Safe Boating Practices” (LINK), which we encourage NMTA members and boaters to adopt.
    • NMTA encourages each business to adopt a workplace safety plan that incorporates appropriate social-distance measures and follows recommended sanitation protocol. A sample of a workplace safety plan can be found here. If you would like to share your safety plan so other NMTA members can benefit from seeing what you are implementing, please send it to Peter Schrappen (peter@nmta.net)

 “I am looking to use this downtime to train up my staff. Are there any free trainings that the industry would recommend, be it COVID-19 related or general sales and marketing tutorials?”

    1. Again, MRAA has stepped up. We appreciate that they have opened up their library for all NMTA members to access. You can find these resources here.
    2. For more general courses on sales and marketing, NMTA’s Peter Schrappen speaks highly of the free offerings and certifications offered at Hubspot Academy. You can access these online materials here.

Did we miss anything? Send us your questions. We would love to hear how you are doing. If you have a membership question, you can reach Alashia Wartelle at alashia@nmta.net. For government and legislative (and other questions), feel free to contact Peter Schrappen (peter@Nmta.net
 
Sincerely,

NMTA Staff

4.13.20 - COVID-19 Update #4: Frequently Asked Questions

Since the outset of COVID-19, the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) has kept close tabs on all the moving parts of this crisis and the concerns that have come with it. While you remain focused on your business, the NMTA staff is focused on the changing nature of the world that we live in. The purpose of this weekly email is to provide you with the resources we have found to be the most helpful.

For this COVID-19 update, please take a look at the resources and info that we have gleamed in a helpful Frequently Asked Questions format. If you would like to ask your questions directly, please contact NMTA Dir. of Government Affairs & Vice President Peter Schrappen at peter@nmta.net.
 
What's next from NMTA?
We strongly encourage you to attend NMTA’s Annual Meeting this Wednesday, April 15 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. To RSVP, please email katieg@nmta.net and Katie Groseclose will send you the meeting link.
 
Where are the three useful websites that I can refer to about COVID-19 and its impact on my business?

1. NMMA’s COVID-19 Action Center: The National Marine Manufacturers Association has called on the federal government to take action and help marine manufacturers respond to COVID-19.
2. The Washington Retail Association’s COVID-19 Retailer Resource Guide consists of resources to support employers and employees, provide retailer specific guidance on business operations, and make COVID-19 general topics available.
3. The Association of Washington Business’s Resources List for employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is boating outlawed?
While not explicitly outlawed or called out as an activity not to do, NMTA is encouraging boaters to follow Governor Inslee’s request to "stay close by when going outdoors. If you need to take a car, it’s probably too far. Don’t recreate with those outside your household. Practice strong social distancing and stay at least 6-feet apart when getting fresh air.”
 
Is recreational fishing closed?
Yes, for the time being. We are hopeful that recreational fishing will be allowed once the current limit on activities ends on May 4.
 
What are some other useful websites, webinars and hashtags I should be tracking?
Washington state’s COVID-19 Response page.
Follow @NMTA on Twitter and look for #NMTACOVID to stay informed.
Check out this upcoming free webinar on Tuesday, April 14 from 11:00 pm – noon that the Seattle Metro Chamber has organized. Kris Bowen, lead policy analyst for Washington State's Employment Security Department, will join again to provide an overview on the updates that have been made to unemployment benefits programs in the last few weeks. Following Kris, hear from Davis Wright Tremaine on some new requirements around paid leave that were passed at the federal level, including how these requirements overlap with unemployment benefits.
 
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns. We are here to ensure that we all get through this together.
 
Sincerely,
 
NMTA Staff

4.6.20 - COVID-19 Update #3: CARES Act, state unemployment & Health Trust info 

Dear NMTA members,
 
You can count on us to provide you with a weekly roundup of information that our team has found to be the most valuable for your business. We send these out each Monday. It’s hard to stay on top of everything, but this info should assist you as we get through COVID-19, together.
 
Last week was a busy one. Hopefully, you saw that Governor Jay Inslee announced that he has extended the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order to May 4. While some businesses remain open, many of our members are closed. If you feel your business is essential and you would like to open, please apply HERE.
Maybe you heard about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) last week, too. These loans and grants amount to $360 billion and were part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that President Trump signed on March 27.
 
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which enables businesses to obtain up to $10 million in loans that are 100 percent forgivable if they do not lay off any employees or if they rehire employees they’ve already laid off. These loans are through your lender and the application can be found HERE.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), which includes a $10,000 grant that businesses can apply for and which they do not need to pay back. The rest of the EIDL loan, which caps out at $2 million, is not forgivable but can be more flexible than PPP in the types of expenses it covers. These loans are through the Small Business Administration and the application can be found HERE.
  • Our friends at NMMA put together this helpful flowchart to help you determine whether the EIDL or PPP is most helpful. You can find that HERE.
  • If you have questions, you can email Peter Schrappen at NMTA (Peter@nmta.net) and/or check out these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that our partners at the Seattle Metro Chamber put together (with the assistance of their consultant Monument Advocacy): Summary of CARES Act SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) & Loan Forgiveness Program (HERE)
Also, last week a record number of people filed for unemployment insurance, which is administered through our state’s ESD. There are numerous resources available to walk you through the process for your employees and as an employer, and we found these to be the most helpful.
For Workers:
 
For Businesses needing to reduce staff hours or temporarily layoff workers, here are two programs that speak to this topic
 
  • Reduced hours: SharedWork is a smart alternative to layoffs. It allows employers to reduce hours and let their employees collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. Changes have been made to make this program more accessible during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about SharedWork, Standby and partial employment HERE.
  • Temporary shutdowns and layoffs: Employers who temporarily shut down and put their employees on standby can apply for relief of some benefit charges if their operations were directly impacted by COVID-19. Standby has also been automatically expanded from 4 to 12 weeks. Learn more HERE.
 
In closing, NMTA covers over 5,000 member employees and their dependents receive their health insurance from the NMTA Health Trust. If you received your insurance through us, please know that you can email your health insurance questions directly to Michaela Gormley at mgormley@capitalbenefitservices.com. Also, here is news for you on this subject, too.
 
  1. The insurance commissioner has extended the grace period for premium payments to 60 days.
  2. Member businesses can update and change their health insurance plans mid-plan to reduce costs and/or amount of contribution by employer.
  3. Our carriers, Regence and Kaiser Permanente, have waived any out-of-pocket payments for medical treatments related to coronavirus.
  4. Regence BlueShield coronavirus resources are available at this LINK.
  5. Kaiser Permanente coronavirus resources are available HERE.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us on staff with your questions or suggestions or ways you could use assistance. We would encourage you to keep checking our Twitter feed (@NMTA) and #NMTACOVID for updates and webinars throughout the week

Sincerely, 
 
NMTA Staff


3.30.20 - NMTA COVID-19 Update #2: PPE Donation Requests and Stimulus Info for you

Dear NMTA Member:

In our effort to keep you up to speed with the changing nature of our world, this the second communication with you centered on the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to your business. You can find our first email that includes links to various unemployment insurance resources for your employees).

As we think about the ways the boating industry can help, there is reason for hope, optimism, and good news. Specifically, we are pleased to report that sailing lofts around the area are stitching Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

You might be wondering how you can help. If your organization has masks, gloves and other PPE that you can donate, please reach out to Peter Schrappen, NMTA’s VP & Director of Government Affairs, peter@nmta.net. If your business is located in King County, there is a system already in place to facilitate these donations. Here’s a link for more info on this King County program. For our King County members, you can directly email donations@kingcounty.gov to submit donations. Someone from their team will get in touch with them to coordinate delivery of the PPEs.

Before we close, you probably heard that President Trump signed the third stimulus package on Saturday, March 28. There are over 800 pages to review but there are some early indications that there is good news for small and medium-sized businesses. NMMA has reported that many of the items we asked for were included in this legislation, which you can view here (NMMA Boating Industry Wins).

This stimulus package (also known as The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act) allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency.

Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide (US Chamber Loan Guide) to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
NMTA Staff

P.S. NMTA is a member of the Association of Washington Business (AWB) and we appreciate and support their work as the state’s Chamber of Commerce. The AWB is measuring the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic over time. Businesses are encouraged to take a 2-minute survey at this LINK to track how the virus is impacting individual businesses.

3.24.20 - COVID-19 Update: Marina Workers & Employees who repair marine vessels are considered essential in Washington state

While it seems like the COVID-19 news changes minute by minute, NMTA wants to provide you with the most important news in a reliable manner. To that end, we are sharing that Governor Inslee made an important announcement yesterday (Monday) by ordering all non-essential businesses to close for a minimum of two weeks. 

With respect to essential businesses, he did explicitly list “marina workers” and “employees who repair marine vessels” as essential and can remain open during this period. You can view that entire list here (link).

Of course, each individual member should make their own decision that is best for the health and safety of their employees and customers.  

You should know that there is a process in place if you would like to be deemed essential. That form for approval is available here (link). If you have questions please contact Peter Schrappen, NMTA Vice-President & Director of Government Affairs at peter@nmta.net.

Also, given the tremendous uncertainty that exists with the economy, please take a look at this resource page from Washington state’s Employment Security Department (ESD). They have launched aCOVID-19 resource webpage with aScenarios & Benefits Option Chart. You will likely find one or more of the following options applicable to your scenario. TheirFrequently Asked Questionsis a wonderful resource also.

Here are three links we want to share from the ESD site:

  • Shared work is a great resource if your employer reduces work hours, but employers need to initiate and coordinate with the ESD.

  • Temporary layoffs or standby– Employees who are either part-time or full-time are eligible to apply for this benefit without meeting the job search requirement. (ESD has just promulgated emergency rules to also make this option for part-time employees.)

  • Applications with the ESD are available by phone or onlinehere. According to the ESD Commissioner Suzan LeVine, their staffing to process unemployment applications is ready and adequate unless the current situation worsens dramatically.

In closing, please bookmark these websites and check them regularly as this situation is continue to change:

  • NMTA homepage (link) for timely info and recaps of pertinent info vetted by NMTA’s staff and tailored to our members

  • Washington Retail Association’s COVID19 resource page (link): The Washington Retail Association is a trusted partner, and their updates are impressive.

  • Washington state’s COVID-19 response page (link)

If you have any questions or need more information, please reach out to Peter Schrappen, NMTA’s VP & Director of Government Affairs. He can assist you and connect you with the right people as we get through this together. 

Sincerely,

NMTA Staff

P.S. Social distancing is new for all of us. To avoid isolation and loneliness, check on your team often. That’s worked well for us here at NMTA. 

Dear NMTA Member, 

Just as we had positive news to report with last week’s COVID-19 update (LINK) that boating and fishing are reopening in a limited manner on Tuesday, May 5, this week gets started with an important announcement today that boat sales can begin the process to reopen. There are still details to sort out, but the fact that boat sales are on the same level as car sales is big news and different from what we had heard in Friday’s announcement from the Governor. 

Maybe this news story on KIRO-7 that featured NMTA President George Harris from Saturday evening helped Gov. Inslee include us or NMTA’s advocacy efforts that included this memo sent to Gov. Inslee and his team last evening (LINK). Or maybe it was the support of our friends at the Washington Retail Association for advocating on our behalf, too. Or maybe a combo of all of the above. Regardless, boat dealers and brokers received some needed good news today that boat sales can begin by May 15 (LINK to the formal proclamation, note page four), and we are appreciative of the governor for bringing boat sales back online. 

Speaking of the reopening of businesses, this past AWB webinar (LINK to the webinar’s highlights) was another good reminder how important it's going to be for businesses to develop new safety plans for its employees and customers. If you’d like to see what’s available for retail, manufacturing, boatyards and other sectors, please drop Peter Schrappen a line (Peter@Nmta.net
 
As for boating and fishing, which can begin anew on May 5 in a limited fashion, here are some resources and guidelines that the governor, State Parks, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Boat US have shared with us. 

  • Updated list from State Parks on what marine parks are open and closed (HERE
  • Info from WDFW on fishing opportunities and how to boat safely (LINK)
  • Infographic that you can post from Boat US on safe boating (LINK)

We're excited to be launching a robust digital advertising campaign this week that will run for a month promoting boating and letting the public know that we're back in business. Be sure to look for our ads as you browse the web and social media platforms. We'll also be launching a new website for boaters to go to get all of the information they need to boat responsibly and follow current guidelines. 

Wrapping up here, if you find yourself frustrated that you are not getting the info you need about your business, please contact Peter Schrappen to see how he can help (Peter@Nmta.net). 

Also, don’t forget about the world premier of Seattle Boat Show Live this Thursday, May 7 at 7:00 pm. Waggoner Cruising Guide’s Mark Bunzel will lay out what boating looks like in the near future. Included in this hour-long special event will be sample itineraries and frequently asked questions about boating best practices. You can register here (LINK). 

In them meantime, see you on the water (starting tomorrow),

NMTA Staff

Good evening, 

It’s hard not to have a sense of optimism when today’s headlines shout, “U.S. May retail sales surge 17.7% in the biggest monthly jump ever” (LINK). Or how about our country cousins in the RV industry enjoying their moment in the sun with this feature in The New York Times from late last week, “Worried about social distancing when traveling? Join the Crowd and Rent an R.V.” (LINK).

Closer to home for us is the impressive collaboration going on between the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA). Recently, they “launched an industry-wide campaign to share the benefits of boating and fishing at a time many are seeking the stress-relief, togetherness, and outdoor fun these activities provide.” This effort is all part of the national Discover Boating program that put together this fun spot to showcase the buzz around boating (LINK).

On the fishing and shrimping side, we’ve enjoyed access to Washington state’s reopened waters in the last several weeks. First, we are encouraged to see the influx of boat traffic at the Seattle boat ramps enjoying Central Sound’s shrimping last week. Plus, “the waters where the Pacific Ocean meets the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca will reopen to saltwater fishing on June 20” (LINK). And just as we go to “print” here, Seattle Parks has announced All boat ramps will be open to the public by June 20” (here). Yippee!

Interested in traveling to Alaska from the U.S? Good news exists there, too. Alaska has removed the quarantine requirement for travelers who can show proof of a negative molecular-based COVID-19 test result obtained 72 hours before arriving in Alaska. More info here (LINK). Speaking of traveling, the U.S. - Canada border remains closed until at least July 21 (LINK).

Looking to attend or exhibit at a (virtual) boat show? Hopefully by now you have seen the advertising associated with Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show LIVE (LINK), which runs June 25-26. Over 30 exhibitors and 100 boats will take part in this unique experience. Please stop by, say hi, pop around the show and spend some time with our live stream programming.

As you can see, big issues continue to take place for us to monitor and engage in. COVID-19, the reopening of the economy, and the health of you all is top of mind. More and more, the word ‘endemic’ is entering the lexicon, meaning that this novel coronavirus will be with us for some time even if and when a vaccine is developed. As you think about the data, one tip is to keep track of hospitalizations (LINK) versus any other data points (like number of cases).

Then there is the ongoing shift in public opinion taking place around race in the United States. A real and discernible change is taking place among public opinion so much so that pollster and often-quoted star of public opinion Frank Luntz said, "In my 35 years of polling, I've never seen opinion shift this fast or deeply. We are a different country today than just 30 days ago.” (LINK). Time will tell the staying power of this change but it is worth taking note.

As we bring to a close this edition of the COVID-19 update (edition 13!), we found these resources from Washington Retail Association (LINK) helpful for members. They continue to help us all get better acquainted with this new 2020 life. Quoting from their newsletter, “As part of your reopening plan from COVID-19, it would be a good idea to post related signs in your workplace.” While specific signs are not required, here are some suggestions from which to choose:

For the employee areas:

For public areas:

There’s also a tool to calculate based on square footage of selling space, that may be of help. We also have a Safety Operational Plan checklist to make sure you have followed all the steps and processes required to remain open. As part of your daily routine, check around your store that the additional signage requirements are met.
 
That’s all from us for this week.

See you at Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show Live!

 
 
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