Drivers and Enthusiasts Grow in Numbers
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/29/2013 -- A Roseville resident, John Holder, makes the drive to Chattanooga for the Chattanooga Boat & Sports Show every year. Holder does not go to buy, but simply to look.
"I'm like a little kid," he said with a laugh, surrounded by pontoon boats. "Anything shiny catches my eye."
Holder made his way through the door moments after the show began on Thursday. He'll be followed by nearly 6,000 more over the entirety of the weekend, according to co-owner of the BK Productions team, Keith Parker.
"There's over 100,000 square feet of boats and accessories," he said. "If you've been thinking about buying a boat, now is the time."
Showgoers walked along the red-carpeted aisles on Thursday, browsing sports and fishing boats, along with swimsuits, summer gear, booths, and personal watercraft.
Vendors are set to offer reduced prices and incentives on many of their items, along with free extended warranties up until the end of the showcase.
Parker organizes the boat shows across the entirety of the Southeast, and states that more people than ever are attending this year.
"At our shows, as well as other shows I'm aware of, attendance has been up anywhere from 14 to 20 percent," he said.
The rise in number of attendees bodes well for the forecast of the 2013 selling season, Parker added.
All across the United States, powerboat sales jumped nearly 10% for 2012, while it is the first significant sales numbers dropped in the 2008 recession free-fall, according to the National marine Manufacturer's Association.
"The industry was averaging about 300,000 new power boats every year, then in about 2008 we started to see a decline from that," Ellen Hopkins, vice president of communications, said. By 2010, sales bottomed out at just over 142,000.
"This 10% is kind of the turnaround for our industry," she said. "I think new power boat sales can be a barometer for the larger economy."
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