As the scope and scale of the calamity unfolding at the World Trade Center escalated, city and state police collaborated with municipal agencies to put Manhattan on lockdown, halting buses, subways, and commuter rails, as well as closing roadways, bridges, and tunnels to prevent further attack. But sealing off the city also prevented people from leaving. All the while, conditions grew worse.
Revolutionary Pontoon Ladder: New REVO A True Game-Changer
The next big thing for pontoon owners might just be the LilliPad REVO Ladder. The new boarding ladder sets the bar for comfort and functionality while offering an unrivaled array of features and benefits. LilliPad Marine has a reputation for getting boaters in-the-water with its Innovation Award Winning LilliPad Diving Board and is committed to making the process of re-boarding comfortable for all boaters.
REVO Ladders fasten to boats using a modular mounting system. With mount brackets installed at both locations, it can easily be moved from stern to bow making the ladder versatile for deep water swimming or an afternoon at the sandbar.
Releasing or securing the ladder to its mounts is as simple as pulling or inserting two locking pins. The REVO Ladder also boasts an impressive 48-inch (below the deck), 5-step design when deployed. The ladder’s deployed shape has been carefully crafted with an obtuse angle that positions the lower portion vertical and the upper portion sloped. REVO’s shape is critical in eliminating the need for flexibility or upper body strength to climb the ladder with ease. In addition, the ladder’s wide, slip-resistant, ergonomic-steps and beefy structure provide unmatched comfort and stability.
While REVO is deep when deployed, when retracted it sits only 16 inches above the deck presenting an aesthetically pleasing low profile. Furthermore, the REVO Ladder can be deployed and retracted from a standing position thanks to its innovative folding design and retracting strap. Thus, no kneeling or leaning over into the water to deploy or stow your ladder is required.
REVO Ladders are designed to exceed industry standards. Each ladder is built with heavy wall aluminum extrusions, robust (internal) stainless-steel cables, and stainless hardware. In addition, the ladder is self draining, eliminating the ability to freeze and crack. REVO Ladders are also suitable for dock mount applications boasting the same great features and benefits of the boat boarding ladder. Especially noted by homeowners is the ladder's ability to fold, eliminating the rigid, algae-covered ladders found on most docks.
The 9/11 Rescue That We Need To Hear More About!!
"I just turned my boat around," said New York Waterway ferry captain Rick Thornton, recalling the seconds after a fireball exploded from the side of the South Tower. Instead of making his scheduled run, he steered the ferry south. "I didn't call anybody on the radio, I didn't check in with anyone on board to say, 'I'm going offline.' ... My pure instinct was just to head downtown."
Before that morning, no federal, state, or city agency had foreseen the need to evacuate Lower Manhattan, so no plan existed for doing so. At 8:46 a.m., when thick gray smoke started rolling through the airplane-shaped hole in the North Tower, an estimated 16,400 to 18,800 civilians were present in the World Trade Center complex, with many more in the surrounding homes and businesses.
Lower Manhattan's daytime population totaled in the hundreds of thousands that morning. Transportation shutdowns began within one minute after the first plane hit, restricting people's ability to freely navigate around and out of a suddenly changed city.
From aboard a Coast Guard search and rescue boat, Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Carlos Perez saw through binoculars the "horrific silhouette images" of people jumping to escape the unendurable situation inside the towers. "The worst feeling as a first-responder in any capacity," explained Perez, "is being on a scene of distress and not being able to do anything about it." This sentiment, shared by countless mariners as they began mustering on Manhattan's shores, was the driving force that propelled so many into action. And then the first tower fell.
Scrambling to get out of the city by boat
Like the soldiers on the sands of Dunkirk, civilians in Lower Manhattan ran until they ran out of land. Meanwhile mariners raced to meet them all along the shoreline. They nosed their boats in to the sea wall and pulled into every available slip to rescue the hordes of fraught, powder-plastered people. "Gray ghosts." That's what they looked like to NYPD police boat pilot Tony Sirvent.
"We had like Noah's Ark," recalled Sirvent crewmate, NYPD Officer Tyrone Powell. "We had everybody on that boat. We had animals. We had babies without parents. Everybody was covered in soot."
Desperate to get off the island, people stacked 10 or more deep against the railings along the water's edge. Stranded civilians caught in an act of war scrambled to climb, jump, or crawl across ladders to board any available vessel.
What had begun as a sort of expanded ferry service had transformed into a full-blown rescue. By nightfall, approximately 150 different vessels, crewed by an estimated 800-plus mariners had executed a successful boatlift, with surprisingly few incidents or serious injuries. Yet, even as we approach the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, this homegrown Dunkirk still remains far less reported than its 77-year-old counterpart.
Dunkirk mission and 9/11 rescue
The circumstances of these two large-scale evacuations were, of course, quite different. While Britain's mariners had to cross 39 nautical miles of English Channel to reach the north coast of France, New York harbor vessels didn't have nearly as far to go. They converged from points across the port and came in from Long Island to offer their assistance. The majority of boats simply crossed the mile of Hudson River back and forth to New Jersey, dropping off passengers at ferry terminals in Weehawken, triage centers in Jersey City, and slips in parks, marinas, and yacht basins, as well as makeshift docking points all along the New Jersey waterfront.
The scope of the Dunkirk evacuation was quite different.
In May of 1940, two weeks after Germany invaded Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in World War II, Allied forces had retreated to the beachhead in the French coastal city. Evacuation by water offered the only hope of survival, but was hindered not only by German airstrikes targeting British naval vessels but also a lack of smaller boats that could board passengers in the shallow waters just off the beach. Across the English Channel, military leadership organized a massive boatlift, calling for vessels of all sorts to participate in the evacuation.
And over the course of nine days, between May 26 and June 4, more than 800 fishing smacks, and other boats set out to bring the troops home, some with civilian sailors at the helm but most manned by Navy personnel or delivered under tow. These "little ships of England" played a significant role in what was then the largest maritime evacuation in history.
Another difference between these two landmark evacuations came in planning, or lack thereof. In 1940, the rescue fleet was assembled and deployed using a battery of telephones to call boat owners and prospective volunteers. In 2001, on the other hand, the boatlift began completely spontaneously as crews saw the unfolding disaster and navigated toward it, hours before the Coast Guard issued a call for "all available boats" to join the evacuation. Mariners applied not only their equipment, but also their training, rooted in the longstanding and deeply ingrained tradition of aiding those in peril.
Unlike the mariners at Dunkirk, whose ranks included some unarmed volunteer sailors, those delivering people from Manhattan weren't subjected to enemy fire. But they did have to fear the prospect of more attacks as rumors about bombings and unaccounted-for planes continued to fly. When helmsmen and women set their course toward Lower Manhattan, they could not be certain what second- and third-wave assaults might soon follow. As it turned out, the most menacing hazard was actually the dust, which not only created whiteout conditions that left captains navigating by radar alone, but also began a years-long process of illness that would, for some mariners, contribute to an early death.
"We were covered in dust," said then-New York Waterway Port Captain Michael McPhillips. "The radar couldn't see through the dust. ... We were pulling into the dock blind."
It's impossible to know exactly how many of the mariners who participated in the evacuation wound up suffering from illnesses related to their service. At least 120 ferry captains, deckhands, and mates are registered with the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), with 53% of those suffering from at least one illness or condition that doctors and researchers believe to be related to World Trade Center exposures. McPhillips is among them. Forced to retire from maritime work, McPhillips now works for the FealGood Foundation, an organization that provides medical and financial assistance to ailing first responders. He counts three ferry captains from his former company that he says have died from September 11-related health issues. At this time the WTCHP does not keep a tally of such deaths, and so the total number remains unknown.
What we do know is that maritime workers of all stripes set out, heading straight toward Ground Zero. Instead of fleeing, or remaining in locations safely removed from the chaos unfolding across the harbor, they recognized the fact that they had the wherewithal to help, so they helped.
The story of the September 11th boatlift highlights the reflexive human compulsion to aid others that arose in the aftermath of the deadliest terrorist attacks on US soil. That day, a series of lifesaving, selfless acts performed by everyday people transformed New York into a place of hope and wonder. Today these acts, offering up a striking example of community, compassion, and comity, remind us of the resourcefulness and resounding human goodness that inevitably rise up in the face of darkness and calamity.
Pontoon Depot's family would like to say a warm thank you to all that helped that day and to all the fallen during those attacks and in the war's that followed.
- Amy Cabanas
- Tags: Family
Pontoon Boats: The Do-It-All Machine - BoatingIndustry.com
By: Boating Industry
Pontoon versatility continues to drive popularity, growth
In an industry-wide seventh consecutive year of growth, the pontoon segment continues to get more people on the water and keep them there.
Pontoons remain a key driver for the marine industry, and that’s going to continue in 2019, Statistical Surveys, Inc. (SSI) director of sales Ryan Kloppe said. “Pontoons will top 56,000 units in 2018. They just keep getting better, and have truly become a crossover boat.”
Kloppe said that SSI is anticipating around another 3 percent in growth for 2019. “It’s one of the categories that’s actually carrying the industry in year-over-year growth,” he said.
From first-time boat owners to longtime boaters switching segments, the pontoon segment refuses to be left behind.
“One of the things we’ve noticed is that the segment has been firing on so many different cylinders and is so broad based in terms of where its drawing its business from,” Info-Link director of client services Peter Houseworth said.
In terms of consumers in other segments converting to the pontoon life, Houseworth said that the segment bleeds are very balanced all-around. “We’re not seeing a single group from a single segment converting,” he added.
Houseworth said that growth within the pontoon segment has been going on for the last 20 years, however it hasn’t always been as visible because of all of the other gyrations of the market during that time period.
Hand-in-hand with pontoon popularity, the continued demand for outboard power certainly helps continue to make pontoons an appealing choice for today’s consumer.
“Pontoons are ultimately one of the key driving forces in outboard popularity,” Kloppe said. “However, it’s definitely a combination of outboard popularity driving pontoon popularity, and vice versa.”
Aside from raving popularity that began in the Great Lakes and Texas markets, the pontoon segment has been branching into new markets in increasing popularity over the last few years.
“Pontoons and their popularity are now a nationwide thing, rather than just occurring in certain places,” Houseworth said. “Florida, for example, hasn’t been a big pontoon state historically, but is now seeing big growth as a segment.”
“These boats will be around for a long time and in more and more territories,” Houseworth added.
EXPLORING NEW TERRITORY
With the popularity of pontoons continuing to rise, the industry has seen new players enter, or re-enter, the market at an accelerated rate.
After exiting the marine business in 2004, Polaris Industries Inc. busted its marine doors back open in May 2018 after signing a definitive agreement to acquire Boat Holdings, LLC, boat manufacturer of four well-recognized brands: Bennington, Godfrey, Hurricane and Rinker, in an all-cash transaction valued at a net present value of approximately $805 million.
“We started looking at Boat Holdings in early 2017,” said Scott Wine, Polaris Industries Inc. chairman and CEO during a conference call discussing the acquisition. “We’ve been looking at the marine space for four or five years. We look for great products and great brands, and they have both.”
During Q3 2018, Polaris reported that Boat Holdings was already tracking to its early expectations.
Polaris reported boat segment sales were $134 million in the 2018 third quarter, slightly better than expectations, the company stated in a news release. Reported gross profit for the boat segment was $20 million, or 15.1 percent of sales in the third quarter of 2018.
“We were pleased with the early performance of Boat Holdings, the largest manufacturer of pontoon boats in the U.S. that we welcomed to our growing powersports portfolio earlier in the quarter,” Wine said.
Although not completely new to the marine industry, following the creation of a new Marine Group and the acquisition of Alumacraft, BRP entered the pontoon segment with the acquisition of pontoon manufacturer Manitou in August 2018.
“Manitou’s strong brand, high quality pontoons and recognized technology made it a natural fit for BRP’s newly formed Marine Group,” said Tracy Crocker, President of the Marine Group. “With the acquisition of Manitou, we are strengthening our marine portfolio by entering the fastest growing segment in the boat industry.”
The segment also saw the return of the Premier pontoon brand, when the manufacturer emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2018.
The company announced that the reorganized Premier was to remain a Wyoming, Minnesota-based company with its current workforce in place. Premier’s exit from Chapter 11 authorized a change in ownership to a Minnesota-owned company, Premier Pontoon Holdings, LLC.
“The Premier team has worked tirelessly over the nine months to assure we continue to build high-quality pontoon boats as an industry leader,” said Rick Gallagher, Premier’s new chief executive officer.
Gallagher served as Premier Marine’s financial advisor while the company was operating in Chapter 11. The company filed for Chapter 11 on June 19, 2017. Unlike Chapter 7 and Chapter 9 bankruptcies, Chapter 11 bankruptcy gave Premier Marine a chance for a
Following the announcement, Premier quickly moved to establish new agreements with most of its existing vendors.
Relatively new to the market, Barletta Boats of Bristol, Ind. made a name for itself rather quickly in the pontoon world, signing on dealerships in over 70 locations in its early stages, with no signs of slowing down.
Barletta’s 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility roared to life in June 2017 and the company hasn’t looked back since.
Most recently, Barletta penned a partnership with Walkers Point Marina, taking the company international and into Canada. The company continues to assemble its network of dealers across the country, and is now pushing to start adding high-caliber dealers in the Canadian market.
“We’ve have a very deliberate approach to adding new dealerships to our network,” stated Jeff Haradine, Barletta’s vice president of sales. “One of our guiding principles is too ensure that if we are going to partner with a dealership, we are able to provide the resources and product necessary to form a strong, mutually beneficial partnership. The timing felt right, and the Walkers Point Marina is exactly the type of dealership we love to partner with.”
SUV OF THE WATER
Today’s consumer in the boating world is consistently looking for one boat to handle a multitude of tasks. New technologies, designs, features and more in the pontoon segment are meeting those demands of the consumer.
“A combination of better engineering, fuel efficiency, speed and all-around versatility make pontoons a kind of SUV, do-everything type of boat for consumers,” Houseworth said.
From the luxurious lines and ample space of Bennington pontoons, to the sleek and sporty Manitou designs, to the classic-look pontoons of Lowe, Misty Harbor and more, consumers are finding everything they need in a boat in today’s pontoons.
Pontoons offer the boater a large social space for entertaining, a wide array power options, fishing applications, favored accessibility, near-endless options for customization and much more.
“Pontoons especially offer older boaters — which are the primary owner in today’s market — the opportunity to take everyone out on the water, with accessibility, comfort and all-around easier boating,” Houseworth said.
Ranger Boats recently announced the coming together of the fishing and cruising pontoons worlds with the introduction of the new Ranger Reata 223FC and 220FC.
The new boats combine features for both cruising and fishing into multi-use designs to accommodate families and anglers.
“We pride ourselves on listening to our customers and dealers on their wants and needs in our product lines,” said Bart Schad, Ranger Boats vice president of sales and marketing. “We have incorporated that feedback into these new models to create an ideal fish/cruise line that exceeds the needs of everyone on board. Combined with the upgraded aesthetics throughout the entire pontoon line, we have seen tremendous response and look forward to officially bringing these new boats to market.”
The new pontoons’ fish-and-play design brings together a host of creature comforts for pleasure cruising and fishing features valued by anglers.
Pontoons also offer a variety of options for the entry-level boater, with ease of use and lower price points than entry-level boats in other segments.
In March 2018, Crestliner unveiled its new Sprint Series, an entry-level pontoon for novice boaters and those looking for on-water versatility. The Sprint came nearly a year after Crestliner re-entered the pontoon market with its Rally Series.
“The Sprint fills a hole in the pontoon market,” said Crestliner President Eric Hendrickson. “There is a large contingent of boaters out there looking for an accessible pontoon they can hop into without hassle and use for a variety of on-water activities–from fishing to cruising and everything in between. Add to that an exceptional value, and the Sprint is exactly what a lot of families are looking for.”
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE
In an effort to further push the versatility of the pontoon segment, Minnesota-based Montara Boats announced an industry-first game changer.
In early October 2018, Montara announced it developed a patent-pending design that blends the worlds of surf boats and pontoons in the industry’s first surf pontoon, including the comfort and space of a pontoon boat with the performance of an inboard surf boat.
“For the past 15 years I’ve watched neighbors and friends buy tow boats for water sports in addition to pontoons for entertaining. We’ve cracked the code on this and figured out how to blend these, creating the Surf Boss that does it all,” said Montara CEO Mark Overbye.
Overbye is no stranger to the tow boat and tow sports world after serving as the founder and former CEO of both Moomba and Gekko. Overbye also serves as a chairman and trustee for the USA Water Ski and Wake Sports Foundation.
Montara’s new Surf Boss is available in three lengths: 21 feet, 23 feet, and 25 feet.
Equipped with PCM inboard engines, the Surf Boss features competitive surf wakes, a fully enclosed head, over 100 cubic feet of storage, dual swiveling captains chairs, jumbo-sized dual transom loungers that flip from forward to aft viewing.
Overbye told Boating Industry that PCM sent two engines to Montara Boats for use in Surf Boss prototype testing. “I’ve had a great relationship with them for 20 years,” he said. “We represent a potential entree for them into a huge market segment. The tow boat segment is roughly 10,000 units; the pontoon segment last year was roughly 52,000 units. If we have success with this, this should really open up some market floodgates.”
Features of the new pontoon include a 110-gallon fuel tank, a changing room, Zero Off GPS speed control, a 5,000-pound plus ballast system, custom tandem trailer, Rockford’s premium audio system, carrying capacity exceeding 20,000 pounds for people and gear plus a top-end speed that tops 40 miles per hour. A custom tower with dual Biminis, speakers and lights that retracts into the hull compliments the Surf Boss’s design.
“The concept of combining surfing and pontoons clearly struck a positive cord with the marine business at large,” Overbye said.
Since announcing its Surf Boss surfing pontoon in mid October, Minnesota-based Montara Boats has welcomed 27 dealers to its retail network and has more than 23 additional dealerships pending.
Overbye said that the team at Montara already has more ideas on the drawing board to further the limits of pontoons that the industry could see even four or five years down the road.
With the segment showing no signs of slowing in growth, and continued versatility and new technology coming to market, pontoons will remain a major player in the future of the industry.
Heavy Boat Traffic Expected For Labor Day Weekend
Statewide Iowa — Boaters heading out for the Labor Day holiday will likely find busy waterways across the state.
Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said boat operators need to operate with caution and to watch for hazards in the water.
The weekend weather forecast is favorable for boaters and combined with a three day weekend should produce heavy boat traffic. Stocker said ramps will likely be busy, placing boating etiquette at a premium.
“Everyone is excited to get on the water,” she said. “Be patient, and when it’s your turn be ready to launch. Courtesy on the water goes a long way in avoiding problems.”
She said an obvious way to prevent problems is for boat operators to avoid alcohol while operating the craft.
“We want boaters to have fun on the water, but we don’t want that fun to end in a boating tragedy. Boaters need to keep safety in mind while on the water,” Stocker said.
Preparing for a safe day on the water begins in the driveway. Make sure to have a properly fitting life jacket for each person on board and that all of the safety equipment, including a properly working fire extinguisher, is on board.
“Remember, life jackets only work when worn,” Stocker said. “Life jackets float, you don’t.”