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Around the industry: AMI Conference underway, boat shows fill the winter schedule, Yamaha donates life jackets

Jan 31, 2023 | Marina Management, News & Events

AMI Conference & Expo 2023

A casual observer might look at the boating industry and think “they must be so dead this time of year – how do they survive?”


Industry events and movements are in full swing, and to the contrary – January is one of the biggest months of the year. These industry happenings at the big-picture level have rippling tremors that connect with marine marketing on a micro level, and here are a few pieces of news relevant to anyone keeping their finger on the pulse of marina management.

The 2023 AMI Conference is underway at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach

AMI Conference at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach

The annual Association of Marina Industries Conference, the only institutional conference that offers accredited courses for marina managers, kicked off on January 30th. 

Each year marina managers from all over the country attend to explore, learn, reconnect with old friends and meet brand-new ones. Workshops and breakout sessions during the conference are extremely nuanced and guided by the industry’s most innovative minds. Courses range from “Physical planning and layout of marinas” to this year’s focal topic centered around the soft skills of team leadership. Keynote speakers and breakout sessions will explore how to track your marina team into careers where they have the tools and demeanor to navigate the personal relationships, stressors, and morale of marina management. 

In the marine marketing sector, a breakout session titled “The 10-Minute Marketing Plan: Marine Marketers of America Panel” will discuss strategies and tips between 11 a.m. and noon on how to craft a simple and impactful marketing plan. The marketing focus will continue when Sam of Hammer & Nail Marketing speaks Wednesday afternoon at the Ocean Center between 2 and 3 p.m. about practical marketing techniques for any marina manager. The engagement is titled “Practical Marketing Instructions for Marina Owners & Managers: Advice from a 3rd Generation Marina Manager Turned Marketer”. 

Marketing panel at AMI Conference 2023

Attendees or potential attendees can check out a detailed agenda on the AMI website.

Coast-to-coast boat shows dominate February and March

Seattle Boat Show

There’s maybe no more organic networking opportunity than to simply show up and look at some boats. 

Marina owners, managers, and prospective slip-fillers with disposable income have already saturated cities like Chicago and Dusseldorf, Germany in January ‘23. Plenty more are lined up on deck. 

The Seattle Boat Show contends as the longest boat show taking place over the next two months – from February 3rd to the 11th at the Lumen Field Event Center and Bell Harbor Marina with close to 300 exhibitors. The Seattle Boat Show contends with any national boating event for the “we like to party here” award. It holds an “Uncorked” fine wine night, “Sails & Ales” craft beer evening, free clam chowder at Bell Harbor Marina, and more practical events like rescue dog and PFD maintenance demonstrations.   

Cross-country, the New England Boat Show will take place from February 15th to 19th at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The New England Boat Show offers its unique spin on attractions with an “art of pond casting” demonstration, paddlesports demos, and hands-on boating practice with America’s Boating Club’s boating simulator. 

You’ll have to be choosy if you want to take off for a spontaneous boat show – the New Jersey Boat Sale & Expo, Miami International Boat Show, Rockford Boat, Vacation & Fishing Show, and the Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show all take place the same week between February 15th and 19th. 

Discover Boating has put together a nice list with links to more in-depth details of each event. 

Yamaha donates 800 life jackets to the Sea Tow Foundation for use in California, Georgia, and Wisconsin

Underneath the glamorous aspects of the industry – the latest electric hydrofoil boats, the biggest freshwater fish that will be caught this year – marina success rests on the foundation of public safety. The Sea Tow Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to making this happen and received early help in 2023 to secure a greater degree of boater safety in three states. 

Yamaha donated 800 life jackets to be used at Life Jacket Loaner Stations in Georgia, Wisconsin, and California. The Life Jacket Loaner program allows boaters and those partaking in recreational watersports to freely use life jackets from the loaner stations for a day and then return them when finished. The life jackets were distributed the week of January 17th to a myriad of loaner station hosts like Sea Tow Newport Beach, the US Army Corp of Engineers at Lake Allatoona, Georgia, and the Milwaukee Sail & Power Squadron. 

The donation is a generous and effective gesture for Yamaha from a PR standpoint, and Sea Tow can dedicate greater resources to its mission to ensure national boater safety. Between 2016 and 2021, an average of 672 boaters per year were killed in recreational boating accidents in the U.S., with an unsettling 2,500 to 3,000 non-fatal boater injuries each year. 

Besides the Life Jacket Loaner program, Sea Tow is also host to the Sober Skipper program, flare education, and resources for responsible boating.

Hammer and Nail Marketing


Hammer and Nail Marketing is a boutique marketing firm that helps small to mid-sized marinas get noticed by boaters. If you’d like to focus on operating your marina without the additional responsibility of marketing, get in touch with us.

We’re boaters ourselves from a background of operating a family-run marina. From a group of experts who know the water, let Hammer and Nail Marketing help you be the waterfront your local boaters see every time they cast off.


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