Archive for » June 1st, 2014«

Boat sales in Ohio rebounding from Great Recession

Ohio boat dealers are looking for a rebound in 2014, and some are optimistic they’re seeing

The state posted $294 million in sales of boats and related goods last year, but that was down
14.2 percent from 2012, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Part of the drop might have been because 2012 was a “big growth year,” with sales up almost 11
percent in Ohio from the year before, said association spokeswoman Sarah Ryser.

“We’re kind of in another growth period,” said Patty Ackers, a manager at Ask Powersports
Superstore in Columbus, which sells personal watercraft such as Jet Skis. This year has been “
phenomenal. Even with the bad weather, it’s been really good.”

U.S. boating-related sales rose 3.2 percent to $36.7 billion in 2013, according to the marine
association. Ohio, with the nation’s seventh-largest population, ranked 18th with sales of $294

Sales at Buckeye Lake Marina were up last year and are on the right track again this year, said
Tim Levacy, marina manager.

“In between a few of the snow (storms) we had, we got a little slow, but we’re (further) ahead
at this point than we were last year,” Levacy said. “We’ve had a huge half of an April, and this
May has been one of the biggest I’ve ever had.”

Buckeye Lake Marina’s bestsellers are pontoon boats, which range in price from $18,000 to
$120,000 and offer more seating and a “more-comfortable ride” than some other boats, Levacy

The marina sells more than 100 pontoons each year, he said.

Outboard boats, a category that includes pontoons, were the most-popular new powerboats sold in
2013, according to the marine association.

Despite signs of a rebound, Levacy said the market remains soft in some areas.

“I’ve talked to other dealers, and it’s hit or miss whether they’re doing better or not,” he

Personal-watercraft sales also were up last year, growing 2 percent, according to the marine
association. Prices range from $4,999 to $17,000, a range that fits more budgets.

“There’s a price point for everybody,” Ackers said. “They’re much, much easier for folks to
maintain. The cost of ownership is very low.”

Ackers said her customers take their personal watercraft out “mostly in Ohio,” including Buckeye
Lake, Deer Creek and the Ohio River, but sometimes also take them to the ocean.

“They might go to Florida on vacation and take their watercraft with them,” she said.

Lancaster resident Allen Wentz bought a pontoon boat from Buckeye Lake Marina two weeks ago to
use at the family’s summer house nearby. He has noticed Buckeye Lake getting busier the past few

“We also had a boat on Lake Erie for a while,” he said. “I think more people have been buying
boats at Buckeye Lake. … People are staying closer to their area.”

Todd Hammond, a 54-year-old Newark resident who also owns a home on Buckeye Lake, said he has
noticed more people buying boats as well.

“Where we built, there’s new homes, so that has picked up, and along with that … the people
out here are also buying boats as well,” Hammond said.

Hammond bought a pontoon boat from Buckeye Lake Marina about three years ago.

“Three years ago, we bought a place down here at Buckeye Lake, so we needed a boat,” Hammond
said. “(I) just like being on the water.

“Being able to go out on the weekends and the evening, it’s just a nice experience.”


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Dhow racing in Dubai

Hundreds of dhows will flood Dubai in an event combining old tradition with modern sport.

You only need a quick walk around Dubai Marina or to have glimpsed the Burj Al Arab to know that the dhow, Arabia’s traditional sail boat, is a symbol of the UAE’s past and present, and on Saturday May 17 more than 100 dhows will be sailing into Mina Seyahi in the Al Gaffal Long Distance Race.

The history of Al Gaffal, which means The Return, stems back to a time when Dubai’s main trade was pearl diving. The divers would head out on dhows and stop over in Sir Bu Naair Island on their way back to Dubai after a long trip at sea.

Al Gaffal is now in its 24th year and Ali Bin Ghulaita, CEO of Dubai International Marine Club, who is in charge of the nautical event, sees it as one of the highlights of the year. “This is the main event in dhow racing in the UAE. There are a number of races, but this is the top race in terms of prize money and distance.”

The race is 51.3 nautical miles from Sir Bu Naair Island to Mina Seyahi and includes a checkpoint at the man-made Moon Island before heading to Mina Seyahi. The first one back with all its crew and boat in tact will scoop the prestigious prize of AED5m ($1.36m) in prize money.

Racing dhows are unlike other sailing boats. Traditional dhows do not have motors and all the vessels participating in Al Gaffal must adhere to strict regulations on traditional build and size. Bin Ghulaita explains that when the competitive race began in 1991, 43ft dhows were used but because of the their smaller size they were not ideally suited to long-distance sailing, now only 60ft wooden dhows are allowed to race.

Each dhow has a crew of a minimum of 12, and because the boats have no motors, the wind and the weather will have as much to do with the winner as the skill of the crew. Bin Ghulaita and his team at DIMC have factored this in and changed part of the structure of the race to accommodate for nature’s role. “There’s an area called Al Dhlaima that the boats have to pass by a certain time because the wind dies over there, and during that time they stand still until the wind picks up again. That’s why last year we started the races at 6am to prevent this from happening so the boats will have already passed that area, and we’re doing the same this year.”

The checkpoint at Moon Island will also act as first finishing position for boats that don’t catch the wind. “Sometimes you have no wind or you get a storm and you have to cancel the race but if people have finished up to that point, their position will still stand.”

Sailing is still a strong tradition in the UAE and the race is only open to UAE nationals, but as Bin Ghulaita explains, visitors are intrigued by the Arab boats. “Last year we had honorary participants of a German team and a French team – there will be a two honorary teams this year, too. They want to try and compete with the nationals and learn how to sail with these boats – they are completely different to modern boats.”

The shipping manufacturing industry also gets a boost from the race as all the boats taking part in Al Gaffal are made in the UAE, keeping dhow-making traditions alive. Each dhow that takes to the water in Al Gaffal is constructed of solid wood, with two sails, and oars are allowed but shouldn’t be used in the race. The Dhagal or main mast of the vessel should be no more than 32ft. All the entrants race in registered dhows.

The event promises to be a spectacle on Dubai’s seas and the day will also feature entertainment and traditional Arabic dancing, food and refreshments. Moreover, the sight of 100 crisp white sails heading into the Marina will be a display evoking memories of a bygone era.

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Economy’s rising tide propels recreational boat sales – The News

Recreational boat sales are moving out of the recessionary doldrums, both nationally and locally.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association recently reported new and used boat sales, related gear and services generated an estimated $36.7 billion in 2013, a 3.2 percent year-over-year rise.

Although purchases of really big, high-end boats taper off a bit during Southwest Florida’s wet summers, dealers do expect to see some local folks buying late-model used boats or trading up when the 2015 models start arriving in July.

In Lee County, summers at boat dealerships used to be so languid “everybody used to put out the sign that said ‘Gone fishing,’ ” said Ray Jahn, general manager of Fish Tale Sales Service on Fort Myers Beach.

“Those days have changed,” Jahn said.

Summer is when “a lot of our foreign customers come in and buy,” Jahn said. Choices for 2014 models include Grady-White fishing craft starting at $50,000 for a 19-footer, and Robalo and Chaparral dual console boats starting at about $32,000.

And, by the end of June, Jahn expects to have about a dozen orders for 2015 model-year boats.

Looking back at 2013, Jahn said that for his business, “it was our most successful year since at least 2008.”

How bad was the recession for boat sales? Jahn said that in the boom years of 2005-2007 “we’d sell 20 to 30 boats at the Fort Myers Boat show alone.”

But from 2008 through 2010, “you were lucky if people talked to you at the boat shows.

Since 2011, Jahn said, “We’ve see an uptick. American people will go only for so long, not being active and enjoying their lifestyle.”

Nationally, the marine manufacturers report for 2013 shows an estimated 166,800 new powerboats and sailboats were sold at retail for a year-over-year increase of 2.2 percent.

That came on the heels of the industry’s 2012 rebound when new powerboat and sailboat retail sales increased 10.7 percent — the industry’s first sign of recovery.

The marine manufacturers group projects an additional 5 percent to 7 percent increase in retail sales of new boats in 2014.

“A trend in boat manufacturing is the versatile boat — one that can pull tubers or wake boarders, be used for fishing outings, relaxing with the family or entertaining,” said Thom Dammrich, marine industries association president.

At Naples Marina Sales in Collier County, owner Phil Jentgen said business was “up a bit” in 2013, and has been decent so far this year.

His clientele is highly seasonal: “I probably do 75 percent of my new-boat business in the winter six months,” Jentgen said.

However, used boat sales this summer “have been extremely strong,” Jentgen said, adding: “The locals are buying.”

Boating 2013

• Of the 241.9 million U.S. adults, 36.6 percent tried recreational boating at least once — the second highest percentage on record.

More than 57 percent of boaters fished while boating; 19.3 percent of boaters canoed; 17.8 percent tubed; and 14.6 percent water-skied.

95 percent of boats on the water were 26 feet or less — boats that can be trailered by a vehicle.

71 percent of boat owners had household incomes of less than $100,000.

The top five states for sales (rounded) of new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories:

SOURCE: National Marine Manufacturers Association 2013 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract

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