May 12, 2020

Boating Industry CanadaIn the past five weeks, Boating Industry Canada News Week Digest surveyed our marine industry readers to learn what they were doing in their businesses to manage the mandated business closures and social distancing required by the government in response to COVID-19.

We reported the key data last week and promised that this week we would report on the Comments volunteered by some of the respondents.

While the First Wave of surveys were completed by over 450 readers, the Second Wave attracted 200 respondents; not 201, not 199 – exactly 200. After reading all 75 of the Voluntary Comments, we divided them into “Uncertain”, “Negative” and “Positive Action”.

Admittedly, this is all negative and COVID-19 has brought extreme levels of uncertainty to businesses around the globe, yet we would count 46 of the Comments as being what we viewed as “Positive Action”.

Examples of the Positive Action comments include;
Reaching out to customers to reassure them that we're open and ready to serve them as they need us
…new wireless credit card terminal that can go outside; frequent cleaning of fuel nozzles; frequent hand washing for all staff
Implemented an extra weekend shift to spread our employees out more
Making contact with all customers that we have done transactions with in the past
Following all government guidelines and developing new operational plans in accordance with those guidelines.
Educating our members as to how those guidelines will need to be followed

We especially liked the positive steps this reader has taken, “We've made our monthly payment plan available to all clients, and made some accommodations to allow for other payment
arrangements in some cases. We're monitoring the situation, in the event that marinas don't open, and boats aren't launched, we're offering a storage policy that some owners may be eligible for.”

Here is another progressive and positive comment, “Just like everyone else, we are having to find a new way to operate in what may become our new normal! Some of these changes may lead us to be better operators”.

Several praised the valuable leadership from their marine trades associations and several noted that they were following the guidelines closely.

Another respondent wrote, “…made and donated face masks and face shields”. In fact, a number of marine businesses were able to pivot to making PPE and other needed products which is certainly positive.

On the Negative side, we heard;
Just staying afloat
We have been closed for 5 weeks now
Looking for any and all opportunities to reduce expenses
Praying
Waiting for the phone to ring

The overall uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought was reflected in several Comments related to not having clear government direction, or a date for probable re-opening of businesses and the economy.

At present, we are hearing about staggering unemployment numbers throughout the global economies and that will surely have a terrible effect unless people can get back to work soon. But, going back too soon could be worse, and that is a source of further uncertainty.

Here is a last Comment to share and this seems to sum up the positive, negative and the uncertainty, “There is nothing we can do other than wait this out…It is extremely painful and nerve racking as we have a lot of our customers that have requested to delay payments, and a lot of them at this point are prepping to discard this year. Scary times, that is for sure. If this continues, will we be able to last the summer?”

Boating Industry Canada News Week

 

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