As part of a five-year licensing agreement, Boating Industry magazine, a publication of Affinity Group Inc., will be responsible for “the overall creation and development” of the annual Marine Dealer Conference & Expo (MDCE), the annual convention of the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA).

Slated for Nov. 16-18, the newly named Marine Dealer Conference & Expo will be held at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla., a move that numerous dealers suggested in a survey last year, reports Tammy Galvin, a vice president of Affinity Media, publisher of Boating Industry. The more convenient location is expected to generate greater participation from the dealer body. 

Boating Industry, a leading trade journal in the marine sector, will work closely with the MRAA convention committee and will assume responsibility for all sponsorship sales and marketing efforts, according to Galvin, who’s based at Affinity Media’s suburban Minneapolis office.

“This partnership will culminate in a must-attend event that – at long last – will bring the seemingly disparate segments of our industry together at just the right time,” said Galvin.  “Let’s face it: All segments of our industry have seen an incredible amount of attrition that is likely to continue. It’s abundantly clear to us and the MRAA that the survivors will be those arming themselves with every conceivable best practice available, and that’s precisely what we will deliver.” 

A number of boat builders have expressed an interest in incentivizing their dealers to attend the event, which is still in the early planning state, and others are looking to hold downsized dealer meetings there. Likewise, industry 20 Groups are planning to hold their regular meetings on the front and back ends of its educational content. 
“Exhibitors maxed out the available space at the 2008 MDCE in Las Vegas, and this year, with the move to the Coronado, companies seeking to display their products and services in front of an even bigger crowd of dealers will find a much larger and more convenient exhibit hall,” a release states. “The Coronado features more than 86,000 square feet of exhibit space, of which the MDCE has more than 58,000 square feet already reserved, a welcome necessity with growing exhibitor interest. In fact, numerous boat builders and other companies are already signing up to showcase their products.”