November '20

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48 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2020 increase in PWC sales, which were up 75% compared to May 2019. Moreover, PWC customers often seek audio system features that are not available from the factory. "As springtime came to a close, fears of a lost summer echoed throughout the country. Thankfully, our natural resources are wide- open for the recreational activities that have long been a hallmark of the season, and this year a growing number of people are turning to a longstanding American pas- time—recreational boating," says Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president, who adds that the number of first-time boat buyers is on the rise. "Since the founding of our great nation, boating has been a favorite American pas- time. At this critical time, we look forward to playing a restorative role in the health and wellness of our country's citizens and welcoming more people to the lifestyle in the months and years ahead." MAKING IT RIGHT Doing a boat installation takes some special consideration. You'll likely need some time getting comfortable with how to best route wires on different boats, for instance. There is a huge value in leaving pull strings in your installs, especially when running through outriggers and towers. Moreover, reliable connections and marine-grade wiring are of paramount importance, especially if the vessel will see any saltwater use. Savvy installs include marine-rated sup- plies, stainless hardware and heat-shrunk or heat-shrinkable butt connectors, as all connections must be protected from water intrusion. Items like quick-disconnects for tower speakers are details that boat owners appre- ciate during times of service or storage. No one wants to uncover their boat after the winter and find it was visited by thieves during its hibernation. READY TO GET WET KICKER has been a prominent 12V name on the water. According to Phil White, director of marine audio systems, while many manufacturers and distributors have scrambled for orders to stay afloat or were pressed to secure supply chain components during the early months of the pandemic, KICKER beat the trend and is poised to execute timely deliveries. "Our top-requested marine inventory items have been head units, RGB co-axials, subwoofers, and amplifiers," White reveals. "Entering this season with heavy inventory levels and a strong supply chain, we have been able to service our dealers, OEMs and consumers with product delivery during these trying times." In addition, Jeremy Bale, KICKER marine audio brand manager, confirms that the company continues to focus on R&D efforts, with plans to release new marine- exclusive products by the end of the year. "We are communicating with many of our dealers throughout the world and are pleasantly surprised by the boating con- sumer psyche," White notes. "Boaters are taking time during COVID-19 to escape MAKING A SPLASH Marine audio could be a good opportunity for traditional car stereo outlets looking to expand their reach. Founded more than 30 years ago in Mississippi, Pro Audio Center has successfully expanded into the motorcycle, ATV and marine markets. A recent high-profile job arrived at Pro Au- dio when the owner of a new 2020 Sea Hunt 275 Ultra SE came in looking for better sound, and the team delivered.

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