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<P class="text"> <img align="right" src="MG16-6+Publishers/$file/16187-93.ret.jpg" width="215" height="272" alt="Paul Wilson">With
just a few short weeks to go until Christmas, I am once again astounded
at the rapid demise of yet another year. </P>
<P class="text">2002 in many respects has been a great year. The recreational
boating industry continues to ride the crest of a wave that appears
to just want to keep on going and going. Production is up, sales
are up, and order books keep filling. </P>
<P class="text">Does it get any better than this? </P>
<P class="text">Those in the recreational boating industry with long
memories, keep looking over their shoulders waiting for the bubble
to burst, but at this stage it does not appear that it is going
to happen. </P>
<P class="text">To look back to 10 years ago, it was a different picture
altogether. Coming off the highest interest rates on record, combined
with the tail-end of the &quot;recession we had to have!&quot; the boating
industry was in a virtual spiral dive. </P>
<P class="text">But like an evolutionary process, the strongest survived
to reap the rewards that most in the industry are currently enjoying.
In a chicken or egg scenario, the recreational fishing boom has
also had a major impact on boat sales Australia-wide. </P>
<P class="text">The two activities really do go hand-in-glove and
those boat dealers who had the good sense to expand their operations
to include the sale of fishing tackle, have no doubt benefited from
the spin-off sales in their boat departments. </P>
<P class="text">A number of Australian boat manufacturers are enjoying
strong export sales due, in part, to the weaker Australian dollar
but mainly due to the internationally accepted quality and high
standard that these manufacturers have been able to achieve. </P>
<P class="text">So I would have to say that in my opinion the Australian
recreational boating industry has never looked so good. To balance
off this view, I have concerns over the effects of global terrorism
and what the flow on effect will be to the various western economies.
No doubt if the global situation takes a turn for the worse, our
priorities will have to take other directions. </P>
<P class="text">The bombing in Bali has brought this new fear right
to our doorstep and a new generation of Australians have unfairly
paid the ultimate price. Let's just hope that commonsense can prevail.
</P>
<P class="text">I cannot let this opportunity go by without mentioning
a new book that has just been released. The Photographer, The Cook
and The Fisherman is a joint effort by world acclaimed photographer
Richard Bennett and the famous Tasmanian restaurateurs George and
Jill Mure. And before you say &quot;Not another cook book!&quot; I have to
tell you that when I saw the first print of this book I was so impressed
by it that I negotiated to get access to a limited number of copies
to be sold exclusively through the Club Marine merchandise catalogue.
</P>
<P class="text">It is truly a visually stunning production filled
with graphic and spectacular images of Tasmania's wild coast as
seen through the eyes of fishermen as well as many sumptuous seafood
dishes with accompanying recipes. If you have a love of piscatorial
pursuits, both the catching and the eating, then you will have to
have this book! </P>
<P class="text">The Club Marine Catalogue is now into its sixth year
and the latest version enclosed with this magazine is filled with
what, I hope, are useful and fashionable items. Along with updates
of our favourite items, we have brought back the &quot;Original&quot; vest,
and introduced the &quot;On Watch&quot; blanket, a heavy weight polar fleece
blanket designed for maximum warmth whilst out boating at night,
but with the ability to be easily rinsed and dried. Get your orders
in quick to ensure a pre-Christmas delivery. </P>
<P class="text">Also in this issue we bring you a spectacular diving
feature from Fiji by Angie and Andy Belcher, Steve Timmons is at
his Top End best as he tells a tale about his pet crocodile, Warren
Steptoe gives us the benefit of his experience on how to cross a
bar safely, Mike Quist writes about the Gippsland Lakes - his favourite
getaway, Peter Campbell previews the Sydney to Hobart race, which
this year has a new sponsor and there is much more. </P>
<P class="text">Enjoy the magazine and remember that your safety is
our top priority. </P>
<P> <IMG align="right" src="/images/internet/clubmarine/pwsig.gif" width="217" height="134" alt="Paul Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Club Marine Ltd.">
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