Avoiding embarrassment is critical

Andy Adams

June 18, 2024

What can we do to help our best customers avoid embarrassment? I think this is a subject that we don’t contemplate very often but recently, several things have come up that cause me to pause and think about our best customers.

The big factors are the sudden new capital gains taxes that the government has proposed, the out-of-control inflation in property values and the post COVID problems in our health care services. We all knew (or at least suspected) that our federal government was spending too much and that has resulted in the proposed new capital gains tax increases. Capital gains taxes are triggered when an asset (like a heritage family lakefront property) is sold or changes ownership. So, point one is to help the cottage families to keep their lakefront properties.

We can’t do much about the inflation in property values and honestly, that has delivered a “wealth effect” that helps our customers justify keeping their lakefront property. It keeps rising in value and that persuades then to hang onto the property and can also help them feel that they can afford a new boat. In fact, the extension of that is the idea that they should buy a new boat to entice family members and friends to visit and enjoy the lake by boat. Great idea right?

But as the mainly baby-boomer generation cottage owners continue to age, wobbly knees and a diminished sense of balance becomes a sad but rarely admitted reason to avoid the boat. It is embarrassing to admit that it’s hard to step into the boat, especially if wind and waves are rocking it. No one wants to fall into the boat. That can be very serious. My mother-in-law in her 80’s was still at her cottage on the island (and alone) when she fell getting into the boat. She broke her arm and was unable to get up and out until someone finally came looking for her.

What are we doing to help all boaters and especially the elderly, safely get in and out of their boats? Are the dock companies offering stair systems and handholds? Do the boats have a rail or step system to help people in and out? Maybe there could be a rope from the boathouse ceiling with loops or knots that a person could hang onto, to lower themselves in and out of the boat.

As usual, I’m writing with the marinas in mind but that’s because the marinas are often the contact point to the boat owners. Everyone else can get in on the discussion at their own point of contact in the boater relationships; dockbuilders, general contractors, boat designers, hardware and accessory manufacturers – there are tons of opportunities to help solve this challange.

I mentioned the post COVID problems in our health care services. While I’m lucky that my GP has not retired or quit, he can only do so much. I twisted my knee back at Christmas and the appointment for an MRI to see what has gone wrong, comes up in two weeks. My doctor put in for the MRI in December. The MRI is in early July.

It’s certainly taking a lot of time to get my knee properly diagnosed. All I can say is that I hope it’s either OK or fixable quickly. We are right into the season now and I want to avoid taking an embarrassing tumble!

Andy Adams – Editor

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