Nautical Stimulus Package in the Works – What about Paddlesports?

Wednesday, 01 April 2009
Obama SailboatU.S. President Obama's administration has enabled the nautical industry to take part in the new stimulus package to take advantage of the "zero carbon" benefits of sailing. This is a bid to help strengthen the failing sailing industry.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said, "This will be not only good for the environment but for all my friends in the Bay Area who love sailing."

Ms.Pelosi went on to say, "We also welcome the commercial partnerships between companies as well." Pelosi cited the newly announced joint marketing effort between mast maker Southern Spars and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, makers of Viagra. The two companies have launched a new advertising campaign targeted to the male sailing audience with their slogan; "A stiff rig is hard to beat". The first commercials are due to air during the next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Of course, not everybody is excited about the announcement. Republican Ron Paul of Texas, said: "When you look at modern sailing yachts today, most of these vessels are fitted with carbon masts. How can this administration look us straight in the eye and say this package is focused on zero carbon when the masts are carbon? I don't care if you put the carbon in the atmosphere or up in the sky in the form of a mast, it's all the same carbon in my book."

I would love to see something similar happen with the paddlesports and outdoor tourism industry. Of course, I don't need to tell you that many outfitters are hurting bad. It's no wonder; with a combination of customers tightening their purse strings and guided trips with razor thin margins, it doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for business owners.

Paddling in Canada's Northwest Territories. Photo Credit: Canoe Arctic Inc.I read a story last night on CBC about how the North West Territories in Canada is bracing for a brutal tourism season this year. Alex Hall who owns Canoe Arctic said that things are shaping up to be his worst season up north in 35 years. He doesn't expect to lose money yet but probably won't be able to pay himself after everybody else gets paid.

Listening to the outdoor industry buzz, it's a common story all across North America. Several small rental and guiding companies have already gone away. Some would argue that they were already hanging on by a thread already but it still sad none the less.

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Sailboat Photo Credit:
Canoe Photo Credit: Canoe Arctic

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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