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Caption

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Michael Frank, president of Prestige Yacht and Sales, shows off a Beneteau Oceanis 55 sailboat at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Crowds throng a dock in September 2013 at the Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Attendees at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show eyeballing a Beneteau Oceanis 55, a model sold by Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Tom Pilkington still remembers the Norwalk Boat Show of 2008, held the weekend after news broke on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with he and some of his fellow yacht brokers comparing notes while mostly idle at an exhibit booth.

“We were all standing around talking, because there was no one there,” recalled Pilkington, owner of Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk.

Seven years later, Pilkington and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are expecting big crowds at NMMA’s 2015 installment of the Norwalk Boat Show, scheduled for Sept. 24-27 in East Norwalk, with many prospective boat buyers feeling financially better off these days.

Manufacturers are bringing new models to market after several years of relatively quiet activity on the drawing board, according to Pilkington, in part a reflection of the overall economy and a flood of used boats hitting the market during the recession and its aftermath, as cash-strapped families jettisoned their expensive weekend hobby, creating additional competition for boat designers.

The manufacturers are back in force with many models equipped with newfangled systems, whether in the form of onboard infotainment systems that can deliver maritime information, power winches on sailboats or even joystick controls at the helm that can be used to maneuver boats in and out of tight slip spaces.

“I would definitely say there’s been a steady growth in the buying of boats in the past three years,” Pilkington said. “The stock market has been great, interest rates have been low.”

The boat show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the 400-slip Norwalk Cove Marina at 48 Calf Pasture Beach Rd., with nearly 60 makes of boats on display, from Absolute Yachts of Italy to Zodiac Nautic of Summerville, S.C. It is the largest of Connecticut’s slate of boat shows, which include the in-water Greenwich Boat Show held in April, Mystic’s Wooden Boat Show in June and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association’s Hartford Boat Show staged in January at the Connecticut Convention Center. NMMA also runs the New York Boat Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which each January kicks off the annual circuit of U.S. boat shows and where attendance surged 24 percent this year.

The 2015 season is fast coming to a close, with the Norwalk Boat Show sandwiched between the Newport International Boat Show, revving up for next weekend in Newport, R.I.; and the tandem U.S. Sailboat Show and U.S. Powerboat Show held back to back in mid-October in Annapolis, Md., billed as the largest in-water boat show in the United States.

Norwalk Boat Show tickets are $13 if purchased online through Sept. 23 or $15 at the gate, with children age 15 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Admission covers many happenings at the show, with extra fees for skills-based boating workshops, ranging from $5 to $75. Information is online at www.boatshownorwalk.com.

Totally different

While the Norwalk Boat Show is a major draw for the Tri-state area, attendance dropped sharply last year to 12,900 people, as reported by the marine industry publication Trade Only Today, a 21 percent drop from 2013. Weather willing, NMMA expects a rebound this year to anywhere between 14,000 and 20,000 people, according to Jon Pritko, NMMA’s regional manager in charge of the Norwalk and New York boat shows.

If attendance figures were down, boat dealers said their sales were up last year, and that has continued into 2015.

“Norwalk is totally different,” Pritko said. “There are several hundred (boats) on display, including probably 125 in the water. That’s what makes in-water shows unique. The (boats) in Norwalk are much larger than you can get into any convention center.”

Connecticut residents spent $136.3 million in 2014 on the purchase of boats, outboard motors and other accessories, a 9.5 percent increase according to NMMA, ranking the state 32nd of the 50 states for percentage increase in sales and sixth of the eight Northeast states, ahead of New York at 7.3 percent and Massachusetts at 3.4 percent.

With a 25 percent increase in boat and accessory sales, Rhode Island led all Eastern states and ranked fifth nationally.

Nationally in 2014, sales of powerboats rose 6.4 percent to 177,500 vessels in all, with NMMA expecting another increase this year of between 5 percent and 7 percent.

Connecticut boat registrations hit the high water mark in 2004 at just under 112,000 watercraft, dropping precipitously following the recession to 104,000 boats as of 2012. Connecticut does not require registration of boats lacking motors that are less than 19½ feet in length.

A sign of the times

If lower fuel prices are swaying some boat-buying decisions, it remains a pricey hobby —the website SeeDealerCost.com lists the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at $103,000 for the 25-foot Grady White powerboat, among the models on display at the Norwalk Boat Show. At Stamford’s private marinas, slip fees average between $2,180 and $3,330 for boats 24 feet to 30 feet in length, according to a study published in May by Stratford-based Roberge Associates Coastal Engineers, with the city’s public marinas at Cove Island, Cummings Park Marina and Czescik Municipal Marina charging less. Tack on taxes, fees, insurance, winter storage, maintenance and others costs, and it adds up.

But in well-heeled Fairfield County, which looks out on the Long Island Sound, it is a hobby that many pursue.

If boaters are coming back, so are the dealers, Pritko thinks.

“A sign of the times that things are improving is that I’m seeing manufacturers bringing more product to the show, ones that haven’t been at Norwalk in recent years,” Pritko said. “Right after the recession … they kind of faded away.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-964-2236; www.twitter.com/casoulman


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Caption

Close

Michael Frank, president of Prestige Yacht and Sales, shows off a Beneteau Oceanis 55 sailboat at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Crowds throng a dock in September 2013 at the Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Attendees at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show eyeballing a Beneteau Oceanis 55, a model sold by Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Tom Pilkington still remembers the Norwalk Boat Show of 2008, held the weekend after news broke on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with he and some of his fellow yacht brokers comparing notes while mostly idle at an exhibit booth.

“We were all standing around talking, because there was no one there,” recalled Pilkington, owner of Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk.

Seven years later, Pilkington and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are expecting big crowds at NMMA’s 2015 installment of the Norwalk Boat Show, scheduled for Sept. 24-27 in East Norwalk, with many prospective boat buyers feeling financially better off these days.

Manufacturers are bringing new models to market after several years of relatively quiet activity on the drawing board, according to Pilkington, in part a reflection of the overall economy and a flood of used boats hitting the market during the recession and its aftermath, as cash-strapped families jettisoned their expensive weekend hobby, creating additional competition for boat designers.

The manufacturers are back in force with many models equipped with newfangled systems, whether in the form of onboard infotainment systems that can deliver maritime information, power winches on sailboats or even joystick controls at the helm that can be used to maneuver boats in and out of tight slip spaces.

“I would definitely say there’s been a steady growth in the buying of boats in the past three years,” Pilkington said. “The stock market has been great, interest rates have been low.”

The boat show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the 400-slip Norwalk Cove Marina at 48 Calf Pasture Beach Rd., with nearly 60 makes of boats on display, from Absolute Yachts of Italy to Zodiac Nautic of Summerville, S.C. It is the largest of Connecticut’s slate of boat shows, which include the in-water Greenwich Boat Show held in April, Mystic’s Wooden Boat Show in June and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association’s Hartford Boat Show staged in January at the Connecticut Convention Center. NMMA also runs the New York Boat Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which each January kicks off the annual circuit of U.S. boat shows and where attendance surged 24 percent this year.

The 2015 season is fast coming to a close, with the Norwalk Boat Show sandwiched between the Newport International Boat Show, revving up for next weekend in Newport, R.I.; and the tandem U.S. Sailboat Show and U.S. Powerboat Show held back to back in mid-October in Annapolis, Md., billed as the largest in-water boat show in the United States.

Norwalk Boat Show tickets are $13 if purchased online through Sept. 23 or $15 at the gate, with children age 15 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Admission covers many happenings at the show, with extra fees for skills-based boating workshops, ranging from $5 to $75. Information is online at www.boatshownorwalk.com.

Totally different

While the Norwalk Boat Show is a major draw for the Tri-state area, attendance dropped sharply last year to 12,900 people, as reported by the marine industry publication Trade Only Today, a 21 percent drop from 2013. Weather willing, NMMA expects a rebound this year to anywhere between 14,000 and 20,000 people, according to Jon Pritko, NMMA’s regional manager in charge of the Norwalk and New York boat shows.

If attendance figures were down, boat dealers said their sales were up last year, and that has continued into 2015.

“Norwalk is totally different,” Pritko said. “There are several hundred (boats) on display, including probably 125 in the water. That’s what makes in-water shows unique. The (boats) in Norwalk are much larger than you can get into any convention center.”

Connecticut residents spent $136.3 million in 2014 on the purchase of boats, outboard motors and other accessories, a 9.5 percent increase according to NMMA, ranking the state 32nd of the 50 states for percentage increase in sales and sixth of the eight Northeast states, ahead of New York at 7.3 percent and Massachusetts at 3.4 percent.

With a 25 percent increase in boat and accessory sales, Rhode Island led all Eastern states and ranked fifth nationally.

Nationally in 2014, sales of powerboats rose 6.4 percent to 177,500 vessels in all, with NMMA expecting another increase this year of between 5 percent and 7 percent.

Connecticut boat registrations hit the high water mark in 2004 at just under 112,000 watercraft, dropping precipitously following the recession to 104,000 boats as of 2012. Connecticut does not require registration of boats lacking motors that are less than 19½ feet in length.

A sign of the times

If lower fuel prices are swaying some boat-buying decisions, it remains a pricey hobby —the website SeeDealerCost.com lists the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at $103,000 for the 25-foot Grady White powerboat, among the models on display at the Norwalk Boat Show. At Stamford’s private marinas, slip fees average between $2,180 and $3,330 for boats 24 feet to 30 feet in length, according to a study published in May by Stratford-based Roberge Associates Coastal Engineers, with the city’s public marinas at Cove Island, Cummings Park Marina and Czescik Municipal Marina charging less. Tack on taxes, fees, insurance, winter storage, maintenance and others costs, and it adds up.

But in well-heeled Fairfield County, which looks out on the Long Island Sound, it is a hobby that many pursue.

If boaters are coming back, so are the dealers, Pritko thinks.

“A sign of the times that things are improving is that I’m seeing manufacturers bringing more product to the show, ones that haven’t been at Norwalk in recent years,” Pritko said. “Right after the recession … they kind of faded away.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-964-2236; www.twitter.com/casoulman


Similar news:

Boat shows manager: Industry recovering, ticket sales up Annapolis Boat Shows

The Annapolis Boat Shows continue to grow as the maritime industry recovers from luxury taxes and the Great Recession, said the shows’ general manager.

In a wide-ranging discussion with The Capital’s editorial board, president and general manager Paul Jacobs said the shows’ ticket sales have recently spiked and the October events continue to be the largest separate in-the-water sail and powerboat shows in the country.

Annapolis boat shows manager: Industry recovering, ticket sales up

The Annapolis Boat Shows continue to grow as the maritime industry recovers from luxury taxes and the Great Recession, said the shows’ general manager.

In a wide-ranging discussion with The Capital’s editorial board, president and general manager Paul Jacobs said the shows’ ticket sales have recently spiked and the October events continue to be the largest separate in-the-water sail and powerboat shows in the country.

Sale of Annapolis boat shows finalized

The shows, held on back-to-back weekends, bring thousands of attendees to Annapolis to look at, board and purchase the latest boats, as well as to buy accessories and to attend seminars. Luxury taxes and the recession hurt the industry but people are back to buying boats and attending the shows, he said.

“Things are getting healthier,” Jacobs said. “The show’s economic impact isn’t talked about often.

“We bring a lot of people in here. It is a huge time economically for Annapolis.”

Jacobs said this year’s sailboat show ticket sales are likely linked to a giveaway in which ticket purchasers have a chance to win a 22-foot Beneteau.

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Caption

Close

Michael Frank, president of Prestige Yacht and Sales, shows off a Beneteau Oceanis 55 sailboat at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Crowds throng a dock in September 2013 at the Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Attendees at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show eyeballing a Beneteau Oceanis 55, a model sold by Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Tom Pilkington still remembers the Norwalk Boat Show of 2008, held the weekend after news broke on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with he and some of his fellow yacht brokers comparing notes while mostly idle at an exhibit booth.

“We were all standing around talking, because there was no one there,” recalled Pilkington, owner of Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk.

Seven years later, Pilkington and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are expecting big crowds at NMMA’s 2015 installment of the Norwalk Boat Show, scheduled for Sept. 24-27 in East Norwalk, with many prospective boat buyers feeling financially better off these days.

Manufacturers are bringing new models to market after several years of relatively quiet activity on the drawing board, according to Pilkington, in part a reflection of the overall economy and a flood of used boats hitting the market during the recession and its aftermath, as cash-strapped families jettisoned their expensive weekend hobby, creating additional competition for boat designers.

The manufacturers are back in force with many models equipped with newfangled systems, whether in the form of onboard infotainment systems that can deliver maritime information, power winches on sailboats or even joystick controls at the helm that can be used to maneuver boats in and out of tight slip spaces.

“I would definitely say there’s been a steady growth in the buying of boats in the past three years,” Pilkington said. “The stock market has been great, interest rates have been low.”

The boat show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the 400-slip Norwalk Cove Marina at 48 Calf Pasture Beach Rd., with nearly 60 makes of boats on display, from Absolute Yachts of Italy to Zodiac Nautic of Summerville, S.C. It is the largest of Connecticut’s slate of boat shows, which include the in-water Greenwich Boat Show held in April, Mystic’s Wooden Boat Show in June and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association’s Hartford Boat Show staged in January at the Connecticut Convention Center. NMMA also runs the New York Boat Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which each January kicks off the annual circuit of U.S. boat shows and where attendance surged 24 percent this year.

The 2015 season is fast coming to a close, with the Norwalk Boat Show sandwiched between the Newport International Boat Show, revving up for next weekend in Newport, R.I.; and the tandem U.S. Sailboat Show and U.S. Powerboat Show held back to back in mid-October in Annapolis, Md., billed as the largest in-water boat show in the United States.

Norwalk Boat Show tickets are $13 if purchased online through Sept. 23 or $15 at the gate, with children age 15 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Admission covers many happenings at the show, with extra fees for skills-based boating workshops, ranging from $5 to $75. Information is online at www.boatshownorwalk.com.

Totally different

While the Norwalk Boat Show is a major draw for the Tri-state area, attendance dropped sharply last year to 12,900 people, as reported by the marine industry publication Trade Only Today, a 21 percent drop from 2013. Weather willing, NMMA expects a rebound this year to anywhere between 14,000 and 20,000 people, according to Jon Pritko, NMMA’s regional manager in charge of the Norwalk and New York boat shows.

If attendance figures were down, boat dealers said their sales were up last year, and that has continued into 2015.

“Norwalk is totally different,” Pritko said. “There are several hundred (boats) on display, including probably 125 in the water. That’s what makes in-water shows unique. The (boats) in Norwalk are much larger than you can get into any convention center.”

Connecticut residents spent $136.3 million in 2014 on the purchase of boats, outboard motors and other accessories, a 9.5 percent increase according to NMMA, ranking the state 32nd of the 50 states for percentage increase in sales and sixth of the eight Northeast states, ahead of New York at 7.3 percent and Massachusetts at 3.4 percent.

With a 25 percent increase in boat and accessory sales, Rhode Island led all Eastern states and ranked fifth nationally.

Nationally in 2014, sales of powerboats rose 6.4 percent to 177,500 vessels in all, with NMMA expecting another increase this year of between 5 percent and 7 percent.

Connecticut boat registrations hit the high water mark in 2004 at just under 112,000 watercraft, dropping precipitously following the recession to 104,000 boats as of 2012. Connecticut does not require registration of boats lacking motors that are less than 19½ feet in length.

A sign of the times

If lower fuel prices are swaying some boat-buying decisions, it remains a pricey hobby —the website SeeDealerCost.com lists the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at $103,000 for the 25-foot Grady White powerboat, among the models on display at the Norwalk Boat Show. At Stamford’s private marinas, slip fees average between $2,180 and $3,330 for boats 24 feet to 30 feet in length, according to a study published in May by Stratford-based Roberge Associates Coastal Engineers, with the city’s public marinas at Cove Island, Cummings Park Marina and Czescik Municipal Marina charging less. Tack on taxes, fees, insurance, winter storage, maintenance and others costs, and it adds up.

But in well-heeled Fairfield County, which looks out on the Long Island Sound, it is a hobby that many pursue.

If boaters are coming back, so are the dealers, Pritko thinks.

“A sign of the times that things are improving is that I’m seeing manufacturers bringing more product to the show, ones that haven’t been at Norwalk in recent years,” Pritko said. “Right after the recession … they kind of faded away.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-964-2236; www.twitter.com/casoulman


Similar news:

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Caption

Close

Michael Frank, president of Prestige Yacht and Sales, shows off a Beneteau Oceanis 55 sailboat at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Crowds throng a dock in September 2013 at the Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Attendees at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show eyeballing a Beneteau Oceanis 55, a model sold by Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Tom Pilkington still remembers the Norwalk Boat Show of 2008, held the weekend after news broke on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with he and some of his fellow yacht brokers comparing notes while mostly idle at an exhibit booth.

“We were all standing around talking, because there was no one there,” recalled Pilkington, owner of Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk.

Seven years later, Pilkington and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are expecting big crowds at NMMA’s 2015 installment of the Norwalk Boat Show, scheduled for Sept. 24-27 in East Norwalk, with many prospective boat buyers feeling financially better off these days.

Manufacturers are bringing new models to market after several years of relatively quiet activity on the drawing board, according to Pilkington, in part a reflection of the overall economy and a flood of used boats hitting the market during the recession and its aftermath, as cash-strapped families jettisoned their expensive weekend hobby, creating additional competition for boat designers.

The manufacturers are back in force with many models equipped with newfangled systems, whether in the form of onboard infotainment systems that can deliver maritime information, power winches on sailboats or even joystick controls at the helm that can be used to maneuver boats in and out of tight slip spaces.

“I would definitely say there’s been a steady growth in the buying of boats in the past three years,” Pilkington said. “The stock market has been great, interest rates have been low.”

The boat show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the 400-slip Norwalk Cove Marina at 48 Calf Pasture Beach Rd., with nearly 60 makes of boats on display, from Absolute Yachts of Italy to Zodiac Nautic of Summerville, S.C. It is the largest of Connecticut’s slate of boat shows, which include the in-water Greenwich Boat Show held in April, Mystic’s Wooden Boat Show in June and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association’s Hartford Boat Show staged in January at the Connecticut Convention Center. NMMA also runs the New York Boat Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which each January kicks off the annual circuit of U.S. boat shows and where attendance surged 24 percent this year.

The 2015 season is fast coming to a close, with the Norwalk Boat Show sandwiched between the Newport International Boat Show, revving up for next weekend in Newport, R.I.; and the tandem U.S. Sailboat Show and U.S. Powerboat Show held back to back in mid-October in Annapolis, Md., billed as the largest in-water boat show in the United States.

Norwalk Boat Show tickets are $13 if purchased online through Sept. 23 or $15 at the gate, with children age 15 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Admission covers many happenings at the show, with extra fees for skills-based boating workshops, ranging from $5 to $75. Information is online at www.boatshownorwalk.com.

Totally different

While the Norwalk Boat Show is a major draw for the Tri-state area, attendance dropped sharply last year to 12,900 people, as reported by the marine industry publication Trade Only Today, a 21 percent drop from 2013. Weather willing, NMMA expects a rebound this year to anywhere between 14,000 and 20,000 people, according to Jon Pritko, NMMA’s regional manager in charge of the Norwalk and New York boat shows.

If attendance figures were down, boat dealers said their sales were up last year, and that has continued into 2015.

“Norwalk is totally different,” Pritko said. “There are several hundred (boats) on display, including probably 125 in the water. That’s what makes in-water shows unique. The (boats) in Norwalk are much larger than you can get into any convention center.”

Connecticut residents spent $136.3 million in 2014 on the purchase of boats, outboard motors and other accessories, a 9.5 percent increase according to NMMA, ranking the state 32nd of the 50 states for percentage increase in sales and sixth of the eight Northeast states, ahead of New York at 7.3 percent and Massachusetts at 3.4 percent.

With a 25 percent increase in boat and accessory sales, Rhode Island led all Eastern states and ranked fifth nationally.

Nationally in 2014, sales of powerboats rose 6.4 percent to 177,500 vessels in all, with NMMA expecting another increase this year of between 5 percent and 7 percent.

Connecticut boat registrations hit the high water mark in 2004 at just under 112,000 watercraft, dropping precipitously following the recession to 104,000 boats as of 2012. Connecticut does not require registration of boats lacking motors that are less than 19½ feet in length.

A sign of the times

If lower fuel prices are swaying some boat-buying decisions, it remains a pricey hobby —the website SeeDealerCost.com lists the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at $103,000 for the 25-foot Grady White powerboat, among the models on display at the Norwalk Boat Show. At Stamford’s private marinas, slip fees average between $2,180 and $3,330 for boats 24 feet to 30 feet in length, according to a study published in May by Stratford-based Roberge Associates Coastal Engineers, with the city’s public marinas at Cove Island, Cummings Park Marina and Czescik Municipal Marina charging less. Tack on taxes, fees, insurance, winter storage, maintenance and others costs, and it adds up.

But in well-heeled Fairfield County, which looks out on the Long Island Sound, it is a hobby that many pursue.

If boaters are coming back, so are the dealers, Pritko thinks.

“A sign of the times that things are improving is that I’m seeing manufacturers bringing more product to the show, ones that haven’t been at Norwalk in recent years,” Pritko said. “Right after the recession … they kind of faded away.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-964-2236; www.twitter.com/casoulman


Similar news:

Record sales at Swanwick Used Boat Show

Now in its 36th year, the Show’s focus was to display quality
pre-owned sail and powerboats to visitors, both in the water and onshore, along
with a display from Raymarine electronics and the RNLI.

“Despite an unsettled 10 days, the wind and rain didn’t stop visitors
looking around the hundred plus boat display,” said Premier’s Andy Osman CMM at
Swanwick Marina. “The Park and Ride service made it incredibly easy for serious
buyers to view new yachts at the Southampton Boat Show and then return to
Swanwick Marina with two or three models in mind and compare prices in one
visit”.

Participating brokerages this year included Ancasta International Boat
Sales’, Clipper Marine, Princess Motor Yacht Sales, Sea Ventures and Sunseeker Southampton.

“In line with our experience at Southampton Boat Show, Princess Motor
Yacht Sales had a fantastic Swanwick Used Boat Show – busy virtually every
day – with plenty of viewings and a number of sales to report. We will
definitely be back next year,” added Mark Da Costa, used boat manager,
Princess.


Similar news:

visit|article-6526812|Home-nav-hcat|2

Caption

Close

Michael Frank, president of Prestige Yacht and Sales, shows off a Beneteau Oceanis 55 sailboat at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Crowds throng a dock in September 2013 at the Norwalk Boat Show in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Attendees at the 2013 Norwalk Boat Show eyeballing a Beneteau Oceanis 55, a model sold by Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk, Conn.


Photo: Jason Rearick / Jason Rearick


Tom Pilkington still remembers the Norwalk Boat Show of 2008, held the weekend after news broke on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with he and some of his fellow yacht brokers comparing notes while mostly idle at an exhibit booth.

“We were all standing around talking, because there was no one there,” recalled Pilkington, owner of Prestige Yacht Sales in Norwalk.

Seven years later, Pilkington and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are expecting big crowds at NMMA’s 2015 installment of the Norwalk Boat Show, scheduled for Sept. 24-27 in East Norwalk, with many prospective boat buyers feeling financially better off these days.

Manufacturers are bringing new models to market after several years of relatively quiet activity on the drawing board, according to Pilkington, in part a reflection of the overall economy and a flood of used boats hitting the market during the recession and its aftermath, as cash-strapped families jettisoned their expensive weekend hobby, creating additional competition for boat designers.

The manufacturers are back in force with many models equipped with newfangled systems, whether in the form of onboard infotainment systems that can deliver maritime information, power winches on sailboats or even joystick controls at the helm that can be used to maneuver boats in and out of tight slip spaces.

“I would definitely say there’s been a steady growth in the buying of boats in the past three years,” Pilkington said. “The stock market has been great, interest rates have been low.”

The boat show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the 400-slip Norwalk Cove Marina at 48 Calf Pasture Beach Rd., with nearly 60 makes of boats on display, from Absolute Yachts of Italy to Zodiac Nautic of Summerville, S.C. It is the largest of Connecticut’s slate of boat shows, which include the in-water Greenwich Boat Show held in April, Mystic’s Wooden Boat Show in June and the Connecticut Marine Trades Association’s Hartford Boat Show staged in January at the Connecticut Convention Center. NMMA also runs the New York Boat Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which each January kicks off the annual circuit of U.S. boat shows and where attendance surged 24 percent this year.

The 2015 season is fast coming to a close, with the Norwalk Boat Show sandwiched between the Newport International Boat Show, revving up for next weekend in Newport, R.I.; and the tandem U.S. Sailboat Show and U.S. Powerboat Show held back to back in mid-October in Annapolis, Md., billed as the largest in-water boat show in the United States.

Norwalk Boat Show tickets are $13 if purchased online through Sept. 23 or $15 at the gate, with children age 15 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Admission covers many happenings at the show, with extra fees for skills-based boating workshops, ranging from $5 to $75. Information is online at www.boatshownorwalk.com.

Totally different

While the Norwalk Boat Show is a major draw for the Tri-state area, attendance dropped sharply last year to 12,900 people, as reported by the marine industry publication Trade Only Today, a 21 percent drop from 2013. Weather willing, NMMA expects a rebound this year to anywhere between 14,000 and 20,000 people, according to Jon Pritko, NMMA’s regional manager in charge of the Norwalk and New York boat shows.

If attendance figures were down, boat dealers said their sales were up last year, and that has continued into 2015.

“Norwalk is totally different,” Pritko said. “There are several hundred (boats) on display, including probably 125 in the water. That’s what makes in-water shows unique. The (boats) in Norwalk are much larger than you can get into any convention center.”

Connecticut residents spent $136.3 million in 2014 on the purchase of boats, outboard motors and other accessories, a 9.5 percent increase according to NMMA, ranking the state 32nd of the 50 states for percentage increase in sales and sixth of the eight Northeast states, ahead of New York at 7.3 percent and Massachusetts at 3.4 percent.

With a 25 percent increase in boat and accessory sales, Rhode Island led all Eastern states and ranked fifth nationally.

Nationally in 2014, sales of powerboats rose 6.4 percent to 177,500 vessels in all, with NMMA expecting another increase this year of between 5 percent and 7 percent.

Connecticut boat registrations hit the high water mark in 2004 at just under 112,000 watercraft, dropping precipitously following the recession to 104,000 boats as of 2012. Connecticut does not require registration of boats lacking motors that are less than 19½ feet in length.

A sign of the times

If lower fuel prices are swaying some boat-buying decisions, it remains a pricey hobby —the website SeeDealerCost.com lists the manufacturer’s suggested retail price at $103,000 for the 25-foot Grady White powerboat, among the models on display at the Norwalk Boat Show. At Stamford’s private marinas, slip fees average between $2,180 and $3,330 for boats 24 feet to 30 feet in length, according to a study published in May by Stratford-based Roberge Associates Coastal Engineers, with the city’s public marinas at Cove Island, Cummings Park Marina and Czescik Municipal Marina charging less. Tack on taxes, fees, insurance, winter storage, maintenance and others costs, and it adds up.

But in well-heeled Fairfield County, which looks out on the Long Island Sound, it is a hobby that many pursue.

If boaters are coming back, so are the dealers, Pritko thinks.

“A sign of the times that things are improving is that I’m seeing manufacturers bringing more product to the show, ones that haven’t been at Norwalk in recent years,” Pritko said. “Right after the recession … they kind of faded away.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-964-2236; www.twitter.com/casoulman


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