Archive for » May, 2017 «

Georgia Watersports offers parts, sales, repairs and service – The Union

After nearly a decade in the marine and watersports industry, John Goldberg has seen a lot.

As the early season heat draws its yearly influx of people to the Lake Country, Goldberg will begin his 10th summer in the marine sales and repair industry, and his customer flow shows no signs of slowing down until early fall.

At Georgia Watersports, the North Columbia Street retail and repair shop that he manages year-round, he and his six employees are preparing for what might be the shop’s busiest year to date.

“I would say that most of our clients are regular customers,” said Goldberg from the shop’s main warehouse. “You can’t please everybody, but most of our customers are recurring, and we’ve had some customers basically from when we opened. Every year we’ll get a couple new people coming in wanting their boats fixed, and [even if] it’s because everybody else is backed up and we’ll be the earliest to get to their boat, most of the time they come back and are satisfied with the job.”

Although Georgia Watersports looks much like a Lake Country boat dealer might be expected to look, the company and its origins are fairly unique. When Goldberg’s brother-in-law, Nathan Collins, was laid off from the former Brown and Williamson tobacco factory in Macon, the company gave him a severance package with a stipend for professional training. After using the money for a class at Central Georgia Technical College in Milledgeville, Collins decided he wanted to enter the marine business and started the Georgia Watersports. Now in its fourth year on North Columbia Street after seven years on U.S. 129, the shop offers a wide selection of parts, repairs and retail sales.

“We do part sales, boat repair, work on Honda and Yamaha outboards, and we’re a Honda and a Yamaha dealer,” said Goldberg. “We also sell johnboats, watersports equipment, and stuff like that. I would say that the parts sales is the biggest part of our business, but every part of our business has been growing year by year at this location. At our other location, we were a little [farther] away from the water with a much smaller store, and being on 441 has really helped us out, but word-of-mouth is our main way to get our business around.”

If moving the shop to 441 just a few hundred yards from Lake Sinclair has helped Georgia Watersports out, its location is not the only thing that draws customers in. Nearly every foot of the shop’s warehouse is stacked high with various parts and equipment, and Goldberg said the shop’s vast selection sets the business apart from others of its kind (he and Collins also operate partspak.com from the warehouse, an online supplier that ships everything from boat parts to snowmobile catalogs). Although the shop is only certified to deal and fix Honda and Yamaha equipment in-house, they can quickly order parts for any make and model, and Goldberg and his staff pride themselves on their friendliness and knowledge of marine equipment.

“I feel like we treat people fairly, we’re honest with them, and we do good work,” he said. “If something’s wrong with a boat or if we make a mistake, we’ll take full responsibility and fix it. We just give good quality service, and our customer service is about the best you can get. We’re a family-owned business, and I try to treat people the way I’d want to be treated if I took my truck or boat somewhere.”

After 10 years operating Georgia Watersports, Goldberg and his staff have carved out a niche in the watersports industry. Both he and his owner/brother-in-law put great emphasis on treating their employees well, of which their loyal customer base is arguably a direct result. While Goldberg has plans to provide more parts, boats, and repairs to his customers as time goes on, for now the shop’s manager must settle for a bit of well-learned advice.

“If somebody is wanting to get work done, I would say just find somebody that you trust and feel comfortable with,” he said. “Just be comfortable with the person you’re dealing with at the store you plan on taking your boat to, and if you don’t like them try somebody new.”

Georgia Watersports is located at 3016 N. Columbia St. just south of the Lake Sinclair Bridge. The business is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It can also be reached online at georgiawatersports.com or by phone at 478-454-0084.


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The case for using a compatible yacht broker

When Arv and I bought our current boat and sold our old one, we were fortunate to work with two fine, upstanding and congenial San Diego yacht brokers.

Dea Allen, now with South Coast Yachts, hung in with us for two years, helping us identify the boat we wanted, locating not-quite-on-the-market boats, setting up cross-country searches and nursing us through two failed offers and one that finally went through. Mike Hallmark of Hallmark Yachts assisted us through a long, painful sales period (during the worst of the Great Recession) and helped us through a plotting strategy, before finally securing a sale. We’re still friends with both and recommend them gladly.

Yacht brokers often get a bad rap because of the misdeeds of a sleazy few. Until we started our boat search, I was a little naïve in assuming that most brokers were like Dea, Mike and the many other reputable professionals I’d known around SoCal.

Then we encountered a few scuzzbags that left me gasping in disbelief at their dishonesty and lack of ethics. There was the Florida broker who, when we called to confirm our appointment, tried to cut Dea out of her commission – not that we would have bought his run-down rust bucket. He was one of several who disapproved of female brokers and seemingly female buyers too. Fortunately the listing broker for the boat we bought was helpful, responsive and professional.

In my last column, I urged boat buyers not to let anyone talk them into buying anything. While we’ve all encountered over-zealous salespeople, that comment was inspired by the scumball behavior of the broker representing the buyer of our old Hatteras. The day we completed the sale, the buyer hesitated signing the documents. His broker stuck his finger in his face, as if hypnotizing him, and ordered him to sign as we watched in shock.

But why bother with a broker in this era of easy internet searches?

A good yacht broker knows and understands the market and can represent your interests while saving you enormous time in identifying boats that meet your needs, yet avoid the duds. Most responsible brokers have tales of discouraging customers from buying a specific boat, because they knew it was the wrong boat and the client would later have buyer’s remorse. Professionals want to ensure the boat is a comfortable fit; their customers remain happy and will return to buy another boat.

Look for a licensed broker; only California and Florida require licensing. Ask friends for recommendations and talk to many brokers when you’re looking for someone to help you make a major purchase. Boat shows offer great opportunities to interview brokers. Find someone who’s compatible and listens to what you say, asks questions, understands your wants, needs and budget and is willing to look beyond their immediate inventory to find you the right boat.

Buying a boat is a complicated purchase with many significant layers beyond the immediate sale. A competent broker can assist you in arranging surveys, repairs, financing, dockage and other marine services.

When selling a boat, a knowledgeable broker can help you price it realistically to sell quickly – and tell you when/if you need to drop the price. Your broker can help you “polish,” stage and photograph your boat for sale, write appealing descriptions as well as list and advertise it in the most appropriate places to attract buyers – plus show it, screen buyers and handle the sales paperwork.

Choosing a competent, honest and compatible broker can save you time, money and grief. But do your research before making your selection – and always watch for red flags.


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Palm Harbor boat dealer facing litany of complaints of bad deals

PALM HARBOR — With an aging father sick in the hospital and a son just graduating high school, Andrew Kashella, in between jobs, knew what he had to do.

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His 21½-foot Sea-Pro, the first boat he has ever owned, had to go. Hearing Gulf Coast Boat Sales on U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor stored vessels for free while they worked a sale, Kashella said he had the business collect the boat from his rented slip at Speckled Trout Marina in January.

Gulf Coast Boat Sales manager James Laden told him in March the boat had sold, and he’d receive his 85 percent share of the $14,499 deal once the buyer’s check cleared. Two months later, Kashella hasn’t seen a penny.

When he stopped by the business on May 2 to investigate, Kashella said he got no answers about his money. Scouring the yard, he saw his boat wasn’t there either.

“This whole time I’m thinking I can use the money to get my son squared away at college,” Kashella said. “I didn’t really have any other choice but to trust (them). They looked me in the eye and lied.”

About 20 customers have filed complaints with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in the past month about Gulf Coast Boat Sales, prompting an investigation by the county’s Consumer Protection office. Some, like Kashella, sold boats through the business and never got paid. Others were never given legal documents for vessels they bought and paid for, according to sheriff’s office incident reports.

Robert DiMarco, 40, told investigators he paid Gulf Coast Boat Sales $27,862 for a Stott Craft he never received. After contacting the manufacturer, DiMarco was told the boat had been built but Gulf Coast Boat Sales had never paid the company, according to an incident report.

Gulf Coast Boat Sales owner John Hartnett and Laden did not respond to repeated requests for comment. A sign on the window of the locked-up business states the business is “restructuring” and refers all questions to the law offices of Berkowitz Myer. The attorneys also did not return calls for comment from the Tampa Bay Times.

According to Pinellas County Consumer Protection operations manager Doug Templeton, Gulf Coast Boat Sales had nine fraud complaints that were resolved through the county last year. Templeton said his office has three open complaints and is working to get them resolved through mediation.

If that is not successful, Templeton said the case could be referred to the state attorney’s office as a criminal complaint.

“Was this bad business practice, or was it criminal intent?” Templeton said. “That’s what we have to find out.”

Hartnett has been sued directly, or through his business, five times since 2013 for a variety of deals gone wrong, according to court records. All, except the most recent, were ultimately dismissed.

On May 15, Thomas Pepin of Tampa sued Gulf Coast Boat Sales, alleging he paid a deposit of $83,500 for a 26-foot custom boat that turned out to have serious structural problems. The business stopped returning Pepin’s calls and did not return his deposit when they failed to negotiate a deal for another vessel, according to the lawsuit.

Templeton, whose staff of 13 handled 1,100 cases last year and has about 20 percent on average classified as criminal investigations, said the record of an offender can be considered in an investigation.

“When you start getting complaints and nobody is getting their money back, that could go to our criminal section,” he said.

Ted Thomas, 61, of Belleair, said he has hired attorney Brad Hissing after paying Gulf Coast Boat Sales $19,271 for a Stott Craft that’s never been delivered.

After being told his boat would be ready May 1 and “getting the runaround” on the phone, he said he drove to the business on May 12 to find the gate locked and his dreams dashed.

Thomas said he and his wife, Dawn, had been saving to buy a boat since moving from Seattle five years ago.

“I’m not a rich man, so $20,000 is huge to me,” Thomas said.

Thomas still works part time as a radiological technologist, while his wife works as a respiratory therapist. His dream was to have a boat parked in his driveway that the couple could enjoy for their years of work, but now he’s just left feeling “swindled.”

“I just feel like I was robbed and taken advantage of. I do have some culpability. I was a little too trusting.

Staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Tracey McManus at tmcmanus@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4151. Follow @TroMcManus.


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U.S. Boating Industry Cruises into Summer with Highest Sales in Nearly a Decade

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Memorial Day weekend signals the start of summer boating season in the
U.S., and today the National
Marine Manufacturers Association
(NMMA), representing the nation’s
recreational boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers, reports
the $36 billion U.S. boating industry is seeing some of its highest
sales in nearly a decade. Unit sales of new powerboats increased six
percent in 2016, reaching 247,800 boats sold, and are expected to
increase an additional six percent in 2017 – a trajectory NMMA
anticipates to continue through 2018.

“Economic factors, including an improving housing market, higher
employment, strong consumer confidence, and growing disposable income,
are creating a golden age for the country’s recreational boating
industry,” notes Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA. “Summer is a busy
selling season for our industry, and we expect steady growth to continue
across most boat categories through 2017—and into 2018—to keep up with
the acceleration in demand for new boats.”

Demand continues to grow across nearly all powerboat segments. Outboard
boat sales, which represent 85 percent of new traditional powerboats
sold, and include pontoons, aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats, as
well as small fiberglass cruising boats, were up 6.1 percent in 2016 to
160,900 units.

Sales of new ski and wakeboard boats, used for popular watersports such
as wakesurfing and wakeboarding, saw a double-digit increase, up 11.5
percent to 8,700 boats. New personal watercraft sales, often considered
a gateway to boat ownership, rose 7.3 percent to 59,000 craft, and jet
boats, smaller fiberglass boats that use jet engine technology to propel
the boat, saw a sales increase of 8.7 percent to 5,000 boats.

Sales of yachts (33’ and higher) saw gains of 3.5 percent, reaching a
seven-year high of 1,715 units in 2016.

“One of the standout areas of growth in 2016 was among yachts—a category
that has been slower to rebound as high net worth individuals looked to
remain more liquid post-recession,” notes Dammrich. “Additional trends
driving economic growth for the industry include the creation of more
affordable, versatile boats manufactured to appeal to a new generation
of boaters, more intuitive marine technology making it easier to get on
the water and operate a boat, and an emphasis on shared experiences with
the introduction of more boat rental and shared boat ownership apps as
well as boat clubs that offer access to boats as part of a membership
fee.”

U.S. Recreational Boating by the Numbers (Source: NMMA’s 2016
Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract
)

  • Annual U.S. sales of boats, marine products and services totaled $36
    billion in 2016, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2015.
  • There were approximately 247,800 new power boats sold in 2016, and
    increase of six percent from 2015.
  • The recreational boating industry in the U.S. has an annual economic
    impact of more than $121.5 billion (includes direct, indirect and
    induced spending), supporting 650,000 direct and indirect American
    jobs and nearly 35,000 small businesses.
  • Leading the nation in sales of new powerboat, engine, trailer and
    accessories in 2016 were the following states:
  1. Florida: $2.5 billion, up five percent from 2015
  2. Texas: $1.4 billion, up five percent from 2015
  3. Michigan: $868 million, up nine percent from 2015
  4. Minnesota: $710 million, up nine percent from 2015
  5. North Carolina: $689 million, up eleven percent from 2015
  6. New York: $688 million, up 14 percent from 2015
  7. Wisconsin: $622 million, up nine percent from 2015
  8. California: $615 million, up 15 percent from 2015
  9. Georgia: $551 million, up eleven percent from 2015
  10. South Carolina: $544 million, up ten percent from 2015
  • It’s not just new boats Americans are buying; there were an estimated
    981,600 pre-owned boats (powerboats, personal watercraft, and
    sailboats) sold in 2016, totaling $9.2 billion in sales, an increase
    of two percent from 2015.
  • There are an estimated 12.1 million registered/documented boats in the
    U.S. in 2015.
  • Ninety-five percent of boats on the water (powerboats, personal
    watercraft, and sailboats) in the U.S. are small in size, measuring
    less than 26 feet in length—boats that can be trailered by a vehicle
    to local waterways.
  • Sailboat sales rebounded in 2016 with 6,500 sailboats sold, an
    increase in unit sales of 16.1 percent over 2015 driven by a 23.4
    percent increase in the ‘20 ft. or less’ category.
  • Boating is predominantly “middle-class” with 72 percent of boat owners
    having a household income less than $100,000.

About NMMA: The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)
is the leading trade organization for the North American recreational
boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of
the boats, engines, trailers, marine accessories and gear used by
millions of boaters in North America. The association serves its members
and their sales and service networks by improving the business
environment for recreational boating including providing domestic and
international sales and marketing opportunities, reducing unnecessary
government regulation, decreasing the cost of doing business, and
helping grow boating participation. As the largest producer of boat and
sport shows in the U.S., NMMA connects the recreational boating industry
with the boating consumer year-round. Learn more at www.nmma.org.


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NMMA sees 6 percent gain in powerboat sales in 2017

Posted on May 23rd, 2017

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the boating season and NMMA president Thom Dammrich said we expect steady growth to continue across most boat categories through 2017  and into 2018  to keep up with the acceleration in demand for new boats.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the boating season and NMMA president Thom Dammrich said “we expect steady growth to continue across most boat categories through 2017 — and into 2018 — to keep up with the acceleration in demand for new boats.”

The U.S. boating industry is reporting some of its highest sales in a decade.

As the industry prepares for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the boating season, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reports that the $36 billion U.S. boating industry saw powerboat sales rise 6 percent in 2016, reaching 247,800 boats.

The NMMA expects powerboat sales to rise an additional 6 percent this year, a trajectory that it expects will continue through 2018.

The data, which also showed that an estimated 981,600 used boats were sold last year, come from the NMMA’s 2016 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract.

“Economic factors, including an improving housing market, higher employment, strong consumer confidence and growing disposable income, are creating a golden age for the country’s recreational boating industry,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.

“Summer is a busy selling season for our industry and we expect steady growth to continue across most boat categories through 2017 — and into 2018 — to keep up with the acceleration in demand for new boats,” he said.

The NMMA said demand continues to grow across nearly all powerboat segments. Outboard boat sales, which represent 85 percent of new traditional powerboats sold and include pontoons, aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats, as well as small fiberglass cruisers, were up 6.1 percent in 2016, to 160,900 units.

Sales of new ski and wakeboard boats, used for popular watersports such as wakesurfing and wakeboarding, saw a double-digit increase, up 11.5 percent, to 8,700 boats.

New personal watercraft sales, often considered a gateway to boat ownership, rose 7.3 percent to 59,000 units and jetboats — smaller fiberglass boats that use jet engine technology to propel the boat — saw a sales increase of 8.7 percent to 5,000 boats.

Sales of yachts — boats 33 feet and larger — rose 3.5 percent, reaching a seven-year high of 1,715 units in 2016.

“One of the standout areas of growth in 2016 was among yachts — a category that has been slower to rebound as high-net-worth individuals looked to remain more liquid post-recession,” Dammrich said.

“Additional trends driving economic growth for the industry include the creation of more affordable, versatile boats manufactured to appeal to a new generation of boaters, more intuitive marine technology making it easier to get on the water and operate a boat, and an emphasis on shared experiences with the introduction of more boat rental and shared boat ownership apps, as well as boat clubs, that offer access to boats as part of a membership fee,” he said.

The NMMA said the U.S. boating industry has an annual economic impact of more than $121.5 billion in direct, indirect and induced spending. It supports 650,000 direct and indirect American jobs and nearly 35,000 small businesses, the NMMA reported.


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Harley demo rides move to the Weirs during Motorcycle Week

 

By RICK GREEN, The Laconia Daily Sun

 

LACONIA — One of the biggest changes in this year’s Laconia Motorcycle Week involves the staging area for people to take demonstration rides on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said the demo rides will begin on property adjacent to the entrance of Weirs Beach Drive-In starting on the first weekend of the event, June 10-11.

This is the 94th Laconia Motorcycle Week, billed as the world’s oldest motorcycle rally.

The demos most recently took place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

The Weirs is always a popular spot for people participating in Motorcycle Week, and the demo rides will put an even greater focus on this resort area, St. Clair said. Other areas benefit as well.

“Business communities all around the state make money from all the motorcycles that stream into the state,” he said. “They stop at places like Keene and Portsmouth to get here.”

Meal and hotel taxes spike during the week, which also gives some businesses a head start on the tourist season, he said. Boat sales and even sales of second homes benefit from people who come to the area for this event.

People come to realize that riding a motorcycle in an area of lakes and mountains offers vistas not available in other parts of the country, he said.

Bret Loring, owner of the Paradise Beach Club, said his business depends on this week.

“We would definitely not have been going for 18 years up at Paradise if we didn’t have motorcycle week,” he said. “Without motorcycle week, we would have lasted a year. It’s a golden goose egg for businesses.”

His restaurant and night club at Weirs Beach typically stays open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily during the event.

St. Clair said other highlights of this year’s Motorcycle Week will be antique motorcycle events at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a “burnout pit” at Laconia Roadhouse and an amateur motorcycle hillclimb at Gunstock Mountain Resort.

While the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. will stage demo rides from the Weirs Beach area, other demo rides will start at the speedway.   


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Call for Entries for “The Boat Show” Art Show — Living — Bangor …

Monday, June 12, 2017 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: Kefauver Studio Gallery, 144 Bristol Road, Damariscotta, Maine

For more information: 207-226-0974; kefauverstudio.com

The Kefauver Studio Gallery, Damariscotta, is calling for artists to participate in “The Boat Show” art show, running from June 30th through July 23rd.

This is the second year for this popular show. The show will depict the working vessels and pleasure craft of Maine, floats, buoys, and everything related to life on the water, so submitted works should be in keeping with that theme. Each submitted work must be an original creation, and all mediums will be considered, including oil, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, photographs, sculpture, and hand-made prints. Work must be ready for hanging or displaying (framed or painted edges, wired for hanging with no sawtooth hangers.) Pedestals are available for 3-dimensional work.

Several artists will be selected to present up to 5 works at the show. To enter, submit up to 5 works in jpg form via email to: will@kefauverstudio.com. Deadline for submission is Monday, June 12th.

The artist may price the work as he/she likes, but the work should be priced reasonably for sale. No NFS works will be accepted. All sales and sales taxes will be handled by the Gallery, as will shipping, if necessary. In the event of a sale, the artist may, but isn’t required to, replace the work sold. Gallery commission is 35%.

The show will be advertised through press releases and advertisements in the local papers, and will overlap the Twin Villages ArtWalk on July 21st. Additionally, the event will be posted on the Kefauver Studio Gallery website, and will appear in the Lincoln County Summer Seasons Activities Guide and the Maine Studio + Gallery Guide website.

An Artists’ Reception, open to the public, will be held on Saturday, July 8th, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

The Kefauver Studio Gallery will be placing other calls to artists to participate in future shows for the 2017 season. Dates and terms for submission will be announced at a later date for these shows:

“The Garden Show”: July 28th – August 13th

“Rock ‘n’ Wave”: August 18th — September 10th

“Monhegan Days”: September 15th — October 9th

“The 6” x 6” Show”: October 13th — November 12th

“The Little Holiday Show”: November 17th – January 2nd

For questions about “The Boat Show” show or for information on how to submit your work, please contact Will Kefauver at 207-226-0974, will@kefauverstudio.com, or www.kefauverstudio.com. The Kefauver Studio Gallery is located at 144 Bristol Road, Damariscotta, and is open from 10:00 – 6:30 daily.

This post was contributed by a community member. Submit your news →


Similar news:

Call for Entries for “The Boat Show” Art Show

Monday, June 12, 2017 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Location: Kefauver Studio Gallery, 144 Bristol Road, Damariscotta, Maine

For more information: 207-226-0974; kefauverstudio.com

The Kefauver Studio Gallery, Damariscotta, is calling for artists to participate in “The Boat Show” art show, running from June 30th through July 23rd.

This is the second year for this popular show. The show will depict the working vessels and pleasure craft of Maine, floats, buoys, and everything related to life on the water, so submitted works should be in keeping with that theme. Each submitted work must be an original creation, and all mediums will be considered, including oil, watercolor, acrylic, gouache, photographs, sculpture, and hand-made prints. Work must be ready for hanging or displaying (framed or painted edges, wired for hanging with no sawtooth hangers.) Pedestals are available for 3-dimensional work.

Several artists will be selected to present up to 5 works at the show. To enter, submit up to 5 works in jpg form via email to: will@kefauverstudio.com. Deadline for submission is Monday, June 12th.

The artist may price the work as he/she likes, but the work should be priced reasonably for sale. No NFS works will be accepted. All sales and sales taxes will be handled by the Gallery, as will shipping, if necessary. In the event of a sale, the artist may, but isn’t required to, replace the work sold. Gallery commission is 35%.

The show will be advertised through press releases and advertisements in the local papers, and will overlap the Twin Villages ArtWalk on July 21st. Additionally, the event will be posted on the Kefauver Studio Gallery website, and will appear in the Lincoln County Summer Seasons Activities Guide and the Maine Studio + Gallery Guide website.

An Artists’ Reception, open to the public, will be held on Saturday, July 8th, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

The Kefauver Studio Gallery will be placing other calls to artists to participate in future shows for the 2017 season. Dates and terms for submission will be announced at a later date for these shows:

“The Garden Show”: July 28th – August 13th

“Rock ‘n’ Wave”: August 18th — September 10th

“Monhegan Days”: September 15th — October 9th

“The 6” x 6” Show”: October 13th — November 12th

“The Little Holiday Show”: November 17th – January 2nd

For questions about “The Boat Show” show or for information on how to submit your work, please contact Will Kefauver at 207-226-0974, will@kefauverstudio.com, or www.kefauverstudio.com. The Kefauver Studio Gallery is located at 144 Bristol Road, Damariscotta, and is open from 10:00 – 6:30 daily.

This post was contributed by a community member. Submit your news →


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Boat sales continue gains in April

Posted on May 22nd, 2017 Written by Jack Atzinger

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Far from slipping into a “lull,” as it did in 2016 after strong March sales, the U.S. recreational boating industry achieved moderate gains in April this year that included double-digit growth in the pontoon category.

Sales in the main powerboat segments rose 3.5 percent to 11,277 and they rose 5 percent industrywide to 17,104 from the same month last year in 23 states that represent about 51 percent of the U.S. market, Statistical Surveys reported today.

Last year, sales in 29 states that represented 62 percent of the market were nearly flat with results in April 2015, rising by just 33 boats, or 0.3 percent, in the main segments to 12,530 and falling by 181, or 1 percent, to 18,310 industrywide.

Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe said the April figures this year reflect the kind of growth the industry has seen in recent years, led by “the usual suspects” — categories such as fiberglass outboards, pontoons and personal watercraft that have led the industry’s multiyear recovery from the Great Recession.

“Last year we got off to a stronger start, but I think what you’re seeing now is an uptick for the spring selling season,” he said.

This year through April sales are up 2.9 percent at 38,697 in the main segments and 3.4 percent at 55,075 industrywide in the early-reporting states, growth that is somewhat below industry forecasts of 4 to 6 percent.

Kloppe said that although the year-to-date results appear to be “a little light,” they should improve when more states report their April sales and full national first-quarter figures are released next month.

Pontoon boats had a particularly strong April, as sales rose 11.2 percent to 3,236. Outboard fiberglass boat sales rose 4.5 percent for the month to 3,866, but aluminum fishing boat sales were virtually flat, falling by five, or 0.2 percent, to 2,795.

The personal watercraft category led the industry with sales of 3,898 units, 12.9 percent more than a year earlier. It was the second month in row that PWC sales have risen by double digits. For the year through April, 9,507 PWC have been sold in the early-reporting states and sales are up 10.3 percent.

“With this growth rate, they’re going to be well over 60,000 units this year,” Kloppe said, noting that the majority of PWC buyers tend to be first-time watercraft owners. Dealers have told him that one trend is grandparents buying PWC for their grandchildren.

“These are people who are getting onto the water and experiencing the boating lifestyle,” he said.

Sales of ski and wake boats rose 8.8 percent, or 49, to 606, and sales of jetboats rose 13.7 percent, or 48, to 398.

Seven of the top 10 states for sales reported higher numbers than they did in April last year. Florida led the nation in April sales with 3,190 (up from 2,998). Texas was second at 2,460 (up from 2,185); Michigan was third at 2,076 (up from 2,032); North Carolina was fourth at 1,385 (up from 1,163); and New York was fifth at 1,202 (down from 1,309).

The rest of the top 10 were Alabama at 1,130 (up from 1,090); Ohio at 1,022 (up from 730); New Jersey at 743 (up from 636); California at 702 (down from 716); and Arkansas at 507 (down from 547).

The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports on documented vessels, providing a complete report in the bigger-boat categories. Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers fell by 22 to 82; sales of 41- to 65-foot yachts dropped by 31 to 38; and sales of 66-foot and larger custom and semicustom yachts declined by two to seven.

Sailboat sales fell by 51 to 92 and are lower by 33.3 percent for the year through April at 375 in the early-reporting states.


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Group Raises Concerns About Dock Expansion At Harbor Lights Marina On Lake Chickamauga

A group of residents near the Harbor Lights Marina on Lake Chickamauga are raising concerns about the construction of a dock expansion in front of Aries restaurant.

 

The group plans to take a petition to TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers.

 

It reads:

 

Due to the construction on the Harbor Lights Marina dock in front of Aries restaurant, we would like to request a public hearing on the Harbor Lights Marina dock expansion project as allowed by the TVA/Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice.

The owner advertised 96 new covered slips and a commercial dealership for boat sales.

We believe the current dock being built under the current approved permit is wrongfully progressing:
1) should not have been permitted
2) is being built outside the permitted harbor borders too north
3) was considered a minor TVA construction project and exempted incorrectly from having appropriate environmental review done (should have been considered a major construction project by TVA own regulations and that would require much stricter environmental review and public input)
4) is unsafe, detrimental to the environment, and reservoir noise, sound, and visual disturbance are unacceptable
5) TVA had the option before construction to force some changes that would have been mutually agreeable and chose not to

We believe the application for expansion is incredibly weighted toward one commercial owners interests over the entire public trust in the reservoir and our residential interests and failed to disclose the true intent of the owner’s use of the property and facility.

It is too large, dangerous for river traffic, sound and visual pollution exceed any commercial benefit interest. We would also like to see an environmental impact study, as we have yet to see one related to this project.

Previously, residents met with TVA and Army Corps of Engineer representatives at the TVA Sequoyah training facility on March 7, 2017 to discuss concerns over the project. Our request is that this matter have been escalated above the level of those conducting the 3/7/17 meeting and those higher level representatives be present at this meeting to answer the concerns/questions noted. We want to make sure the questions/concerns are addressed in the meeting plus all paperwork relating to the Harbor Lights project be made available to those attending. To summarize our concerns, we feel construction has started on a 375’ by 550’s structure in the main channel without the proper permits, authorizations, and public input. Also, we contend the structure that has been constructed to date is out of the approved harbor limits allowed by TVA.

The TVA permit application for an even larger expansion is pending.

The Army Corps is currently inviting public input on the application for expansion. We have request a public meeting and have heard no response.

Please take the time to write to the Army Corps of Engineers on the mailer about all of the topics we have discussed.

Address comments to Attention: Cara Beverly
Nashville District Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch
3701 Bell Road
Nashville, TN 37214

Also, consider writing or calling the Office of the Inspector General at TVA as we are concerned about the existing permit and construction being done without appropriate environmental review and the applicant/marina owner is a TVA employee. You can contact Agent Eric Beals, ph: 865-633-7324, email: debeals@tvaoig.gov


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