Boat Building Industry FAQ
Recreational Boat Building Industry
Frequently Asked Questions
This page will answer the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) we receive so you won't have to ask and wait for a reply (and so we don't spend all our time answering the same questions.)
I have questions about RBBI or Polson Enterprises (its webmaster).
- Try the RBBI Purpose page.
- Polson Enterprises Web Sites provides links to most Polson Enterprises operations.
I am trying to find information about boat builder " X " and they are not listed in your Power Boat Builder Links. How can I find their web site or additional information about them?
FIND WEB SITE
FIND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THEM
- Be sure they are not listed in the Power Boat Manufacturer Web Sites, note the list is broken up by type of boat. Also, some manufacturers have several "brands" of boats listed on one line. You might use Netscape's "Find" command to search the page. If we have info on their website it is posted.
- If it is not posted, we suggest you try some of the search engines, we tend to favor Metacrawler for this particular application.
- If that fails, try the logical URL's they might create such as www.companyname.com and www.companynameboats.com
- If that fails, look up their phone number in the Boating Industry annual buyers guide, or another similar publication, call them and ask them if they have a web site.
- If you have a power boat builder web site address we do not have posted, please send it to us and we will post it.
- The annual December issue (buyers guide) of Boating Industry Magazine has the most extensive list of U.S. Boat Builders. Find a copy of this magazine at a local library, local boat dealer, local boat builder, or subscribe to the magazine yourself (see info at http://boatbiz.com).
- An address for many boat builders (U.S. and International) is available through the MIC Hull Identification Code database. The government requires boat manufacturers selling their product in the U.S. to register an identification code (placed in hull of boat). These codes are searchable, as well as the list of manufacturers at www.navcen.uscg.mil/gnab/search.htm .
- Try the phone directories listed in our Office Tools section.
- Industry Research Desk, another Polson Enterprises web site, has a section titled, How to Learn about an Industry or a Specific Company, Use the portion for learning about a specific company.
- Put a note in the rec.boats newsgroup asking for help in finding the builder.
I am trying to find information about a boat builder no longer in business. How can I find them?
- Use the MIC Hull Identification Code database. The government requires boat manufacturers to register an identification code (placed in hull of boat). These codes are searchable, as well as the list of manufacturers at www.navcen.uscg.mil/gnab/search.htm . Those manufacturers no longer in business remain on the list with their last know address.
- Do a literature search of old boating magazines.
- Searching the web using the google search engine for the manufacturer. There may still be some information posted somewhere. Plus if you find a web site that no longer exists, click on the cached option on google. Google may have stored the site.
- If they once had a web site and it no longer exists, enter the OLD URL in The Internet Archive. They may have captured the site.
- Put a note in the rec.boats newsgroup asking for information about them.
- If they have been out of business a LONG time, check the antique boat and motor organizations. You can find a lot of them from
Skip Hagerman's Antique Boat and Motor Marina. Also check the Vintage Marine Sales Literature site for possible literature on the boat.
- Never hurts to search ebay for possible literature on the boat.
- Contact the local Chamber of Commerce where the builder was located. Ask them for assistance.
How can I determine the manufacturer of a boat?
Use the MIC Hull Identification Code database. The government requires boat manufacturers to register an identification code (placed in hull of boat). These codes are searchable, as well as the list of manufacturers at www.navcen.uscg.mil/gnab/search.htm . Those manufacturers no longer in business remain on the list with their last know address.
I am thinking about starting a boat building company. What information can you provide me?
This is not meant as professional advice, it is just a few
thoughts for you to consider. I urge you to obtain professional
advice before entering this industry as a boat builder.
- Thoroughly read the marketing information on this site.
- Gain any basic business skills you may lack through a local university or Vo-Tech.
- If your young and looking down the road several years toward starting your own company. Start out by working for a boat builder. You can gain a lot of experience. You may find a good employer and be happy there.
- For those entering as a small builder, I always suggest looking for a niche in the business. There are several small segments of the industry and one of them might not be represented in your area. You might even consider moving to an area where a particular small volume boat type is not available. I'm talking about things like electric powered boats for no-emissions areas, boats set up to gather scientific data or information, pontoon boats setup as rescue boats, police and fire boats, environmentally friendly boats, boats for the elderly, glass bottom boats, etc. If you try to start out and go head to head with the big boys in the mainstream of boat building they can kill you on price. You can offer great service but its hard to demand twice the price (they buy parts in high volumes for low cost - you buy in low volumes at a high cost). The niche market is too small to attract the big boys and you will be on a more level playing field.
- Decide if you will be selling direct or through dealers. Evaluate the alternatives carefully.
- Start with small boats - if your new to the industry, don't take off trying to build 30 footers.
- Do the obvious business things of establishing a working relationship with an accountant, a banker, and a lawyer.
- You might want to read some of the web sites talking about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Try the search engines for those words.
- Figure out how much money you think it will take to get up and going and then double it. Don't try to start without sufficient capital.
- Many states have some sort of business startup kit with the information about payroll taxes, the various registrations, and taxes involved. Check out your state's web site. State Government Servers provides a link to most of them.
- Be aware this is a high profile industry to the EPA. Both plant sites and products come under many regulations.
- If you locate in an area with other boat builders nearby you may be able to find some experienced workers.
- The mainstream of the industry is very seasonal as well as it swings strongly with the economy. Its not the place for the fainthearted.
- Spend some time visiting with people in the industry.
- Read the "Trade" Publications.
- Visit boat shows.
- Correspond with the NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Assn.
Where can I find current boat building industry marketing statistics (number of boats sold, number of boats in use, sales by size and type, Outboard sales data, inboard sales data, stern drive sales data, etc).
Current numerical data is available from these sources:
Note: When we supply a URL to the publisher, most of these documents themselves are
not online, at least not in their entirety. You will need to obtain a copy of the print
- The Boating Business. 1999 Annual Industry Review. Boating Industry Magazine. February 2000.
16 page insert. The printer is at http://www.boatbiz.com
- 1999 Retail Market Review. Boat Motor and Dealer. February 2000. Pages 25-35. The printer
is at http://www.boatmotordealer.com
- Boat Industry has a boom year. Soundings Trade Only. February 2000. Pages 62-63. The printer
is at http://www.soundingstradeonly.com
- NMMA web site, select Facts and Figures on the left navigational bar and then select boating
- Ski Boat Sales are Still Soaring. Soundings Trade Only. January 2000. pages 32 -33. By Richard DuMont
and Tom Hubbard. Publisher is at http://www.soundingstradeonly.com
Several articles of this nature are published annually in Soundings Trade Only.
- Our Marketing Desk section contains considerable general
boat industry marketing information, but not current industry numbers.
- Our Polson Enterprises Research Services
operation can supply much more specific marketing data if needed, on a fee basis.
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