The British Columbia Marine Trades Association (BCMTA) joined forces with the Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia (SFI) to combine each organization's conference into a single blockbuster event that attracted more than 300 delegates.
Held in Vancouver in late November, the combined SFI/BCMTA conference featured two days of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities under a common roof.
Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturer's Association (NMMA), delivered the keynote address Waves of Change, with strategies for succeeding during economic downturns. “Economically, there have been a number of peaks and valleys over the years,” said Dammrich. “When things get difficult there are some people who might say the industry will not recover or that we will never sell as many boats again, but history tells a completely different story. Economic upswings and downturns have been well documented over a period of many years. These changes bring opportunities, and businesses that approach the market with the right perspective, the right focus, and a little creativity, can remain profitable even in a soft economy.”
Ted Rankine, director for the Canadian Safe Boating Council, presented an exhilarating update on the Cold Water Boot Camp initiative to raise awareness of best practices for individuals who may find themselves immersed in cold water – boaters and marine professionals included. Michael Campbell, Financial Analyst for Global TV, presented an insightful discussion on the BC economy and its effects on the marine industry, while consultant Mary Mahon Jones explored tourism marketing best practices. The twin conferences also offered a number of moderated discussions and workshops, including an update from Clean Marine BC, presentations on taxation and human resources, and The Big Splash fundraising gala for fisheries initiatives in British Columbia.
“We were really pleased with the results of combining the two conferences,” said Jane McIvor, Executive Director for the BC Marine Trades Association. “Those who attended both days received significant insight into the big picture of the recreational marine industry in British Columbia. From the 2009 outlook for salmon, to Fisheries and Oceans Canada harvest policies, to the economic factors affecting both the boating and fishing sectors, sessions addressed the key factors that will impact on businesses over the next two years.”