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Don't Miss The Boat

Brisk sales at boat shows breathing life back into marine industry

By: Mike Suchan,

The recession forced a lot of folks to miss the boat. And the boating industry missed them, too. In the ladder part of the past decade, boat sales dropped significantly, but reports from the winter boat shows are encouraging.

From Los Angeles to Miami, from Maine to Texas, dealers are seeing a serious increase in boat sales.Midwest Boats in Cedar Falls, Iowa, had experience lagging sales numbers since around 2007, but at two shows this winter has nearly 20 sales.

"Most of the time if we can sign even one contract we're happy at a show," owner Terry Kuchenberg told KWWL in Cedar Rapids. "This year we're ecstatically happy about what we've seen."

One buyer noted that boat manufacturers are offering incentives and rebates that helped make his decision to buy now.

In Louisiville, Ky., a long-running show was the largest it’s been in years, and sales for one boat center were approaching its pre-recession norm.

“We are up about 20 percent from last year, which was up from 25 percent from the year before,” owner Dave Landrum told “We are almost back to normal boat sales before the recession.”

 "People are a little bit more confident with the economy," Marty Bunge of Iowa Show Productions told KWWL. "They might have held off on buying a new boat or trading for several years and now's the time to do it. Pricing has been really good … and so that makes a big difference when you're looking to buy." visited our local boat show to see for ourselves. The aisles were full of people and bells were ringing at the sales center.

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