Archive for » October 6th, 2012«

Dock Talk: Season to sell and buy boats is here

    An increase in used boat prices has prompted some boat owners to sell their boats this fall in preparation for a new purchase this winter or upcoming spring.

    List prices for used boats have increased due to an increased demand for previously owned vessels.

    Private boat sellers have realized they can capitalize on a strong market and premium return for used boats, a subdued market with great pricing for new boat purchases and the ability to take advantage of low annual percentage rates on loans.

    In other words, now is a great time to sell your boat.

    Once the selling process is complete, the fun begins. You get to buy a new boat.

    Purchasing a boat is much different versus buying an automobile, since a vehicle typically plays an integral role in the owner’s day-to-day operations. A vehicle is nearly essential in sustaining a job and providing family support. When one malfunctions and must ultimately be replaced, a quick purchase is imperative to not upset the well-oiled cog of life.

    When someone gets the opportunity to buy a boat, there is usually much more time available to research, compare and figure out the best boat that falls within the buyers price bracket.

    A good time to look at purchasing a new boat from a dealer is during the fall and winter, even though the majority of people are turning their thoughts toward hunting and ice fishing. Yet boat dealers with current year models in their fleet would prefer to move out the current models to minimize overhead as new year models arrive.

    Not to mention, boat and engine manufacturers often offer some great incentives for buying during a time when boat sales are a second thought for many people.

    Though spring might seem like the logical time to sell or buy, fall and winter offers greater incentives and time to decide.

    Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you should stop into a boat dealership and ask a sales associate to write down every option you want and spend hours with you in the boat when you really only want to peruse what’s available.

    It’s good to go through a boat, look it over bow to stern and decide if it’s the right model for you.

    But leading the dealership down a misleading path isn’t fair either. If you’d like more information on the model, its construction, warranties, options and pricing, ask a sales associate to assist, but realize that the way they make a living is through sales. They will do everything possible to get you into the right boat model to fit your needs at a good price.

    But if you’re more interested in seeing several boats versus actually buying one, don’t go through the financial paperwork only to say it’s not going to work.

    If you do decide to buy a boat and had a good experience, stick with that dealer. The relationship is valuable for service, repair and possibly another great experience for a future purchase.

    outdoors, fishing

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    Brokers, dealers hoping to seize opportunity at U.S. Powerboat Show

    Local boat dealers and brokerages are hoping pent-up demand will fuel big sales at the United States Powerboat Show next week in Annapolis.

    With more than 40,000 visitors expected Thursday-Oct. 14, the powerboat show is an opportunity for manufacturers and brokers to continue their climb out of the recession.

    The opportunity seems even bigger this year.

    While sales of boats and boat accessories have been on the rise nationally, sales in Maryland fell again in 2011. But optimism is high heading into this year’s show, as some local businesses and industry indicators say buyers are beginning to open their pocketbooks.

    “Today, it seems that people that have money are starting to spend it. Thank heavens,” said Ron Young, a senior salesman at Deale’s Tri-State Marine.

    Sellers such as Young have struggled as boat sales in the state fell from $183 million in 2010 to $162 million in 2011, placing the state No. 26 in the nation. In 2008, the number was $248.5 million.

    To reverse the trend, businesses have switched selling styles and strategies at the boat show. They’ve brought more boats — they’ve brought less boats — they’ve tried just about everything.

    In 2006, Tri-State brought about 15 boats to the show. After the recession around 2009, the dealer only had about six boats there. This year, the company will have nine boats, Young said, with packages ranging from $20,000 to more than $100,000. Back in 2006, Tri-State trended toward only taking bigger, more expensive vessels.

    But as phones begin to ring again at Young’s desk, he’s less concerned about finding the perfect formula.

    “This is certainly not the doom and gloom that we’ve had here going into the last few shows,” he said.

    For others, strategy has been less important than opportunity.

    Bill Walczak, owner of Walczak Yacht Brokerage Service in Annapolis, has for years been able to show his used boats only at the Yacht Basin Co. off the gasoline docks near the Marriott. There hasn’t been a spot for late model brokerage boats until this year.

    The boat show this year has an area for late model brokerage boats. Walczak is bringing three to the front of the show in that section. He will keep eight at the Yacht Basin and also will be running a shuttle to Chesapeake Harbour, where he’ll have 15 more boats.

    He knows he’ll have a better chance to sell. Beyond that, he wants to network.

    “Your bills are paid not necessarily by selling what we have, but by building new relationships,” Walczak said.

    The distinct brokerage section could bring a different audience, said Paul Jacobs, general manager of the U.S. Sailboat Show and U.S. Powerboat Show. Jacobs expects the late model brokerage boats to increase vendor sales of aftermarket parts that wouldn’t be appreciated by buyers looking strictly at new boats.

    “It’s not just about buying boat shoes and shammies anymore,” Jacobs said.

    Jacobs has said the 2007 show was “dismal” and the past couple of years were “challenging.” But the powerboat show rebounded, growing 15 percent last year, and he expects the show will see more growth in 2012.

    Still, some say it’s too early to tell.

    Susan Zellers, executive director at Marine Trades Association of Maryland, said she’s waiting to talk to the loaners to see what type of money is going to be available. But she said she’s hopeful.

    Some brokers aren’t counting their chickens.

    “You never know what a show’s going to be,” said Ken Cumerford, owner of North Point Yacht Sales in Annapolis. “You always use the word hope, but plan and have the right product and you’re not hoping anymore, you’re selling a great product.”

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    November vote may reduce Kansas boat property taxes

    Kansas voters will get another shot in November to cut property taxes for the states watercraft./ppA constitutional amendment that could save boat owners hundreds of dollars is on the ballot, effectively standardizing the highest rates in the Midwest with surrounding states, supporters say./ppKansas boat owners are registering their craft in Oklahoma and Missouri, amendment proponents say, to avoid paying property taxes that can be eight times the rates charged in adjoining states. Currently, boats are classified in the other category of personal property and taxed at 30 percent of value multiplied by the countys mill levy. /ppA $20,000 boat in Oklahoma would carry a $150 property tax bill; in Kansas, the same boat would carry a $750 property tax bill, amendment proponents say./ppA yes vote on the amendment supports taxing watercraft at a lower rate. A vote against retains the 30 percent tax rate for boats./ppThe states Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is leading the charge for passage of the amendment, bolstered by state bass fishing organizations and marine watercraft sales firms./ppA similar proposed amendment failed by less than one percent of the electorate in 2000. /ppThe drive is based on statistics: Boat registrations are down about 20 percent in Kansas over the last decade, to about 83,000 annually. Those missing 20,000 boats translate into as much as $1million in lost annual tax revenue, said Dan Hesket, the boating law administrator for the wildlife department./ppWhen you start to look at the reasons why, it tends to come back to the property tax, Hesket said./ppIts our belief that if this passes, wed be bringing those registrations back into Kansas, said Don Leatherman, Liberal, president of the Kansas Bass Federation Nation. Its kind of counter-productive, as we see it. People are registering and housing boats out of state. Its kind of a deterrent to visiting Kansas, actually. If we can get the number down to a fair tax, we can fix that./ppRep. Jeff King, R-Independence, said the proposed amendment standardizes boat taxation with other recreational vehicles. A similar amendment for RVs passed in 1992 and eventually resulted in substantial tax cuts for those vehicles, which are now valued according to vehicle weight and age. /ppWe tax boats differently than almost any other kind of vehicle in Kansas, he said. Much differently, and much higher than any other state. We need a fair shake, a tax on boats that makes sense, because were losing a million dollars a year in taxes that should be paid right here./ppInstead, people look at our rates and dock the boats somewhere else if they buy the boat at all./ppSalina sportsman Bob Roberts has a message for Kansans who want to bring down the property tax bill on watercraft: If you can afford a $50,000 boat, you can afford the property tax bill./ppI had this fella call me trying to enlist my support to cut the property taxes, Roberts recalled, pausing frequently to break out in laughter. He found this $55,000 boat he wanted to buy, but he cant afford to buy it unless we get the property tax in line./ppI mean, does he realize how much sales tax hes going to pay on that boat at 7.5 percent? I think Id worry more about that than about paying $1,000 a year in property taxes on a boat./ppNew boat sales have plummeted in Kansas, as have the number of new boat dealers in the Wichita metro area once in the double digits, now down to three./ppPersonal property, if it gets changed its bound to help, said Kelly Miller, owner of Crestview Marine in Wichita. /ppMiller dumped new boat sales three years ago for used boat sales, and doesnt expect to offer new boats again if the amendment is approved./ppThe used boat market is very strong, he said. Everything else is right about Kansas right now. You pay $32.50 to register the boat for three years. You couple that with a more in-line personal property tax bill, its a more winning formula for people who sell boats./ppRoberts still is skeptical, saying that tournament bass fishermen who want to save a few bucks are driving the amendment change./ppHe likes his two old boats that cost $100 and less for annual taxes./ppThe fish dont care, he said.

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    Stellar sailing summer for Coral Reef YC’s Jack Johansson


    Jack Johansson, 13, of Coral Gables is a competitive sailor, representing the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the US National Optimist Sailing Team, and he had a stellar summer.

    In June, Jack was one of seven U.S. sailors from 220 to qualify and compete at the Asian Optimist Championship in Trincomlee, Sri Lanka. Against the top world sailors in the Optimist class, he placed fifth. He even finished ahead of the Singapore sailor who was third at the World Championship in the Dominican Republic.

    While in Sri Lanka, Jack and his U.S. teammates visited the Sunshine Children’s Home, a place for orphans from the 30-year long civil war as well as the Tsunami. They brought them school supplies and money they raised. They also spent the afternoon playing cricket with the orphans. In addition, they planted trees to commemorate their visit and show their appreciation to the Sri Lankan Government.

    In August, Jack won his class at the USODA New England Championship in Newport, R.I. The race was part of Sail Newport, a weeklong competition of several classes.

    In what was the largest youth sailing regatta in the country, Jack bested 320 other sailors for the title. Jack’s coach, his older brother Nathaniel, kept him calm and confident throughout the event. After day one, Jack was tied for first. He took a three-point lead by the end of day two.

    On the final day, Jack started terribly, putting him at the back of the fleet. He made up speed quickly without much breeze in his sail. He tacked far out to the right of the course where he was lifted by a wind shift to reach the Top 15 boats by the top mark. He passed a few boats on the reach and a few more on the downwind, placing him in the Top 5 with one more upwind to go. He played the shifts to his favor, bringing home the come-from-behind victory.

    Jack is an eighth grader at Gulliver Academy in Coral Gables. Gulliver started a competitive sailing program in the 420-fleet at the high school level. It also offers training in the Optimist fleet in middle school to prepare the students for high school competitive sailing. Jack looks forward to competing for his school in the future.

    • Jack’s older brother, Nathaniel, 17, recently took his Private Pilot Check Ride. Upon successful completion, he is now the youngest pilot in the United States, according to his mom.

    At 14, Nathaniel decided he would be the youngest pilot in America. Despite the high school workload and busy sailing schedule, he consistently and passionately worked toward that goal. He is a junior at Ransom Everglades High School.

    Belen cross-country

    The Belen Jesuit high school varsity boys’ cross-country team captured its fourth Invitational team title at Chain of Lakes Park in Titusville.

    The Wolverines averaged 15:59, the fastest team average of a meet that included 146 high school varsity teams.

    Belen senior Avery Lopez was second of 183 runners, completing 3.1 miles in a personal best 15 minutes 13 seconds. Lopez led the Wolverines which scored 87 points in the invitation-only Race of Champions.

    Teammate Fabian Tomas was ninth in 15:42. Andres Fernandez (22nd in 16:10), Ryan Rodriguez (29th in 16:16) and Michael Magoulas (40th in 16:35) rounded out a strong effort.

    Belen is the winningest team in the 13-year history of the event.

    • Belen’s junior varsity team finished first of 37 entrants. The Wolverines top seven runners were in the Top 10.

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    Man sentenced to 2-plus years for online car/boat sales scam

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    A Hungarian scam artist who operated out of a Dupont Circle hotel was sentenced to more than two years in prison for his role in a scheme that advertised the sale of boats and cars online, but never came through with the delivery of the vehicles, authorities said.

    Istvan Laszlo Csurgo, 31, of Budapest, was sentenced to 26 months behind bars, and ordered to pay more than $1.1 million in restitution. Csurgo was part of a three-person international crew that swindled more than $1 million from victims from around the United States in just three months last year, according to charging documents.

    The trio used counterfeit Portuguese and Greek passports and drivers’ licenses to set up set up limited liability companies, open more than a dozen bank accounts in D.C., Montgomery County and Northern Virginia, and rent out UPS Store mailboxes to establish D.C.-area addresses, prosecutors said.

    The ring then advertised cars, trucks and boats on websites such as eBay and They used official-sounding businesses names like AMZ Vehicle Brokers and Vehicle International Brokers.

    Their victims were from throughout the United States.

    After the buyers wired the money to bank accounts opened with bogus identities by members of the ring, the trio would stop communication with them and never deliver the vehicle. The ring received an average of about $20,000 apiece from more than 60 victims, agents said.

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