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Stuart Boat Show presented by Infiniti is next week

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The sailfish are biting, and so are the tripletail. Outdoors reporter Ed Killer talks about what you can fish for in the cold.
CARYN SHAFFER/TCPALM

Boats, boats and more boats.

The 44th annual Stuart Boat Show — the Treasure Coast’s largest boating exposition — is ready to set sail again Jan. 12 to 14 along the St. Lucie River waterfront just north of downtown Stuart. Boat sellers, marine businesses which support the boating lifestyle, electronics, accessories, service businesses, travel businesses, boating education groups, marinas, boatyards, manufacturers and more will be on hand throughout the weekend to offer one-stop shopping and comparison on countless brands and makes of boats.

There truly is something for everyone who boats in these waters. Boats from 12 feet to over 80 feet including center consoles, bay boats, cruisers, trawlers, motor yachts, sportfishing boats, pontoon boats, technical poling skiffs, personal watercraft, paddlecraft and more will be featured in displays on land and in the water.  

There will be more than 200 local, national and international exhibitors displaying many of the nation’s most recognizable boat brands. Additional exhibits include the latest in marine electronics, outboard motors, inboard engines, safety equipment, accessories, boat lifts, fishing gear, nautical clothing and jewelry. On hand will also be financing and insurance companies, a full schedule of free seminars covering everything from kids’ fishing clinics to destination boating and travel, music, great food, drinks and more.

The Return of an Icon

One boat many show-goers are going to want to see is the newly configured Bertram 35. The company has come a long way since its founding in the late 1950s in Hialeah, but its leadership has understood its legacy as builders of a comfortable fishing platform. It will be the first time the company will display at the Stuart Boat Show.

The classic lines of the 35 will make boat historians remember the Bertram 31, but offers more beam and cabin comfort while maintaining its performance as a great sea boat for South Florida. The Bertram 35 will be on display in-water in the F-36 slip on the F dock at the show.

“Stuart Boat Show attendees will see hull No. 8 complete with a hard top and fly bridge with Seakeeper 5 and powered by Caterpillar diesels,” said Bertram marketing manager Allison Reis. “We offer an all custom boat, complete with the classic lines people love and remember combined with modern technology people expect on new boats today.”

Reis said displaying at shows like the Stuart Boat Show gives Bertram an opportunity to spend more time with customers.

“We can really connect better with our customers at some of the Florida shows,” she said. “It gives us a chance to let people who are familiar with our brand the chance to see how we’ve really come to back to our quality.”

The current owners of the company purchased Bertram in 2015 and relocated construction to a facility in Tampa where they even built new molds. It is now where service is done, and much of their sales is factory direct. The company plans to introduce a 61 sportfish later this winter.

Reis said a common boat show response is from a lifelong boater who remembers their first Bertram or always wished they owned one. Now they can.  

A Grand Time

Julee Jackson, a yacht consultant with Grand Banks, said the Stuart Boat Show will be a great place to develop sales leads for the Grand Banks 43 Europa and a Palm Beach 55 Express Motoryacht. The boatbuilder has been making connections with the Stuart Boat Show attendee for more than 20 years.

“We always get some sort of business from customers we meet at the Stuart Boat Show,” said Jackson who has worked the show many times. “It has really grown quite a bit over the past five years.”

Jackson said she has developed leads from boaters who live in the Midwest and the Northeast and who have learned that the Stuart Boat Show is a more relaxed environment to get to learn more about the boat they are considering.

“It’s not a busy show where customers get overwhelmed by all that’s going on,” Jackson said. “We’ll have two sales people on each boat at all times. It really gives us a chance to help introduce customers to all we have to offer.”

The Stuart Boat Show enables the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast to showcase an industry which employs more than 5,000 at more than 400 businesses. Marine-related businesses contribute more than $600 million to the three-county area’s economy as part of Florida’s $10.3 billion recreational boating contribution to the state’s economy.

New this year will be the the INFINITI Lounge and Champagne Bar, located near the center of the show, where show-goers will be able explore the vehicles on display and engage with INFINITI product specialists who will show how each model fits with the boating lifestyle. The Bahamas Pavilion will feature a space showcasing resorts, marinas, the 700-island chain’s close proximity to the Treasure Coast and the best ways to get there while Junkanoo music fills the air adding to the island nation atmosphere.

Stuart Boat Show

Dates: Jan. 12-14

Location: 54 to 290 N.E. Dixie Highway, Stuart (northwest of the Old Roosevelt Bridge)

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 12-13; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 14

Admission: General $13; Veterans $11; Children 12 and younger $6

Parking: Free bus shuttles from designated parking areas throughout downtown Stuart

Information: StuartBoatShow.com and also Facebook and Twitter


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Lifestyle driving sales at Seaglass

BONITA SPRINGS — With The Ronto Group’s 26-floor, 120-unit Seaglass luxury high-rise tower within Bonita Bay on schedule for completion and occupancy this summer and sales contracts worth over $143 million already processed, luxury homebuyers continue to be captivated by an award-winning lifestyle that combines the tower’s elegantly appointed residences and an array of world-class amenities.

With full golf and sports membership opportunities available, the attractions of the Bonita Bay Club will be available to residents of Seaglass. Designated a Distinguished Emerald Club by BoardRoom Magazine since 2013, the Bonita Bay Club’s three-story, approximately 60,000-square-foot Lifestyle Center that includes a 20,000-square-foot fitness center and fitness café, a 9,000-square-foot spa and salon, and the Wave Café that offers healthy food choices, has set a new standard for country club communities in Southwest Florida. The Lifestyle Center contributed to Bonita Bay being recognized as one of the 10 healthiest clubs in America by Prevo Health Solutions.

The Bonita Bay Club’s golf operation includes a staff with 25 PGA professionals. Ten of the PGA professionals and seven fitness professionals are Titlist Performance Institute Certified. An instruction program includes private and group lessons, golf schools, and clinics on three dedicated practice areas. Three on-property Bonita Bay West courses were designed by Arthur Hills to preserve and enhance the natural features of the land. The three courses achieved Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status in 1995.

Two Tom Fazio designed courses at the nearby Bonita Bay Club Naples provide a pure golf experience on over 1,000 acres that includes preserved wetlands but no residential development. It was the first private 36-hole club in the world to achieve certification through the Audubon International’s Signature Program and has been designated as a Certified Signature Sanctuary since 1998.

Located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, Bonita Bay’s residents-only beach park is on Little Hickory Island. Residents and their guests may enjoy swimming, sunning, shelling, bird watching, and surf-fishing at this attended park. Picnic pavilions, grills, beach chair and umbrella service, showers, and restrooms equipped with infant changing stations are provided for residents. Personal chairs, umbrellas, and other beach items are welcomed. Residents also enjoy Bonita Bay’s 12-mile network of on-property biking and hiking paths that weave through the community’s lush tropical setting. A kayaking and canoeing lodge offers additional recreational possibilities.

The availability of a full-service on-site marina with access to the Gulf of Mexico allows Bonita Bay residents to enjoy every aspect of Southwest Florida’s tropical lifestyle. The Bonita Bay Marina is on the Imperial River at the south end of Estero Bay, a short distance to the Gulf. Wet slips and dry boat storage are available, as well as on-site fueling and light mechanical services. Owned exclusively by the residents of Bonita Bay, the Marina accommodates a variety of watercraft with a maximum draft of 36 inches. The wet slip lifts can hold vessels up to 16,000 pounds and the dry storage can fit boats up to 32 feet long from the rear of the engine or platform to the front of the anchor or pulpit. Trailer loading and unloading service is available for most boats. Charts, bait, tackle, and other items are available at the Ships Store.

Bonita Bay Club’s new Tennis and Aquatic Center is expected to open early in the 2018 winter season. The new center will continue the expansion of the Bonita Bay Club’s already extensive tennis facilities. A re-arrangement and slight expansion of the 18-court tennis complex was completed in December 2015 and included the addition of a championship court and two tournament oversized courts.

To provide a focal point of the new Tennis and Aquatic Center, the club is building a new 8,000-square-foot Sports Center that will be between the tennis complex and the aquatic area. This new Sports Center will include a tennis pro shop with a professional staff, racquet services, a tennis retail shop, and a lobby area as well as dedicated men’s and ladies’ tennis locker rooms. A covered patio will overlook and run the entire length of the new championship court and provide a prime location for viewing matches. A small kitchen will offer casual fare, including salads, grilled items, and fresh sandwiches and a casual open-air bar under roof will be available for a post-match or poolside beverage. Outdoor dining options and a breezeway will be on both the tennis side and the pool side of the building. Court assignment television monitors will be placed throughout the facility. A multipurpose room will be available for meetings, event food stations, private dining, and tournament preparation.

The club has completed a redesign of the kitchen and traditional dining areas in the clubhouse. The redesign incorporated a 40-foot long buffet station in the dining space. The unique shape of the buffet station enhances the visual appeal of the dining room and contributes to a more efficient diner flow and service fulfillment.

The former golf pro shop was transformed into the 55th Hole, an approximately 3,500-square-foot high-end casual bar experience. The design capitalizes on both the interior space and the immediately surrounding areas to create a captivating indoor/outdoor venue. Nano doors open to covered and open outdoor spaces and a patio between the golf practice area and clubhouse dining area that hosts a very large fire pit.

Backwater Jack’s, a relaxing waterfront dining and lounge experience at the Bonita Bay Marina, is a favored gathering place for the community’s boaters. Bonita Bay’s Naples Club facility on Immokalee Road includes a Club Room within the clubhouse that offers additional dining options and serves as the Naples Club’s primary dining venue.

In addition to the amenities available within the Bonita Bay community and the opportunities for membership in the Bonita Bay Club, the Seaglass tower’s second floor will connect to an amenity complex previously designed by architect Santiesteban Associates. Amenities already in place include a theater, guest suites, card and club rooms, a fitness facility that features men’s and women’s spas with steam and massage rooms, a large resort-style walk-in pool and spa, and a deck with a covered cabana that includes a bar and grill. 

Seaglass is nearing the 70 percent sold mark. Three furnished models are completed and available for viewing with a sales associate by appointment only.

The Ronto Group is also developing the TwinEagles gated golf course community, Naples Square in downtown Naples, and Orange Blossom Naples on Oil Well Road.  Eleven Eleven Central on Central Avenue in downtown Naples will be introduced this month.

The Seaglass sales center, at 26951 Country Club Drive within Bonita Bay, is open daily. Online at www.seaglassatbonitabay.com.


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Fishing News

With over 618 miles of tidal shoreline, 180 lakes and over 5,800 miles of rivers, recreational boating in Connecticut is far more than just fun on water – it’s business that is vital to the Connecticut economy, employing over 7,300 people and engaging nearly 100,000 people who register boats in the state each year.

All aspects of fun, lifestyle, enterprise, education and careers of recreational boating on the Connecticut waterways will be on display when the 49th annual Hartford Boat Show cruises into the Connecticut Convention Center February 8-11, 2018.
Produced by the Connecticut Marine Trades Association (CMTA) and powered by Evinrude, the Show will feature over 125 exhibitors and 400 boats and watercraft. The event will cover the entire space available at the convention center on two levels, with boats, exhibits, demonstration and educational areas, and hospitality features.

Geico is a new sponsor for the Hartford Boat Show. Products being exhibited include boats of all kinds and sizes, jet skis, personal watercraft, paddle sports, kayaks, marinas, motors, slip rentals, servicing, fishing gear and tackle, educational programs and materials, insurance, trailers, electronics, sanitation, air conditioning, real estate, attire, nautical home décor, decking, dock building, winter storage, financing, shore-side activities, destinations and attractions and food and beverage.

According to Kathleen Burns, CMTA’s Executive Director, thoughtful partnerships and collaborations have been responsible for the development of new features for the 2018 show. Cooperative efforts between customers and dealers, among dealers, state and municipal organizations, and destination agencies and sponsors have resulted in two new show features. Welcome 2 Our Waters: Destination CT is a special exhibit hall section highlighting shoreside activities, destinations, attractions, and food and beverage. Sponsored by Renewal by Anderson, the new Window on the Future section will feature students from Thompson Public School District’s boat building program constructing a small wood boat, boat building activities for kids, The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), New England Science and Sailing, and Cedar Island Marine Research Lab. Students from The Sound School of New Haven and several of the state’s technical school automotive departments will also participate in events in this new area.

“The cooperative efforts that have resulted in new show features for this year’s show really illustrate the impact, breadth and opportunities of recreational boating in our state,” cites Burns. Connecticut’s recreational boating industry has an annual economic impact of more than $1.3 billion in direct, indirect and induced spending. Annual retail sales of new boats, engines, accessories and services account for $157.7 million.

Throughout the four days of the show there will be a program of Tips and Trick educational sessions, live entertainment, demonstrations of paddle boarding and remote controlled boats, the Blackhawk Fishing Charters Fighting Chair Challenge, and personality and author appearances.

“What a great time of year to get excited about thinking about getting back on the water. The Super Bowl will be behind us, and for many boaters who will be going into the water within the next eight to twelve weeks following the show, it’s a great time to start to make plans about purchases and trips,” said Kathleen Burns, Executive Director CMTA.

Tickets for The Hartford Boat Show are available at HartfordBoatShow.com. Pre-show online tickets are $10 and a multi-day pass is available at $18 which allows access to the show any two days. The Senior Skip’rs pass for February 10 is $8. Admission on-site at the Show will be $12. Children under 12 accompanied by an adult are free. Group sales for groups over 15 people may be arranged by contacting CMTA Show Staff at 860-767-2645.


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Editor’s Choice 2017: Austin Boats and Motors

Austin Boats and Motors
Austin, Texas

Austin Boats and Motors provides consistency to the community through its established boat brands and reliable service staff.

The dealership’s ancillary services approach and attention to changing market demographics and environmental issues creates an unique level of engagement that’s not commonly found in the boating industry.

Austin Boats and Motors’ U-Haul franchise, the largest volume neighborhood rental center in central Texas, continues to produce additional revenue.

“We expanded the hours of operation for this department,” says Owner Martin Boyer. “We have received numerous U-Haul President’s Awards and other volume and customer service recognitions. The increased customer access to this neighborhood service has been well-received.”

Austin Boats and Motors is located on a major highway that runs along the south shore of Lake Travis.

The dealership’s in-house floral department provides an added layer of service that’s frequently used for customer appreciation events and community promotions.

A new limited liability company was created to streamline financial reporting associated with the floral department.

“We determined that this business structure needed to be changed,” Boyer says. “The timing was appropriate due to the change in ownership of Austin Boats and Motors.”

At the close of 2015, Austin Boats and Motors successfully transitioned to new ownership.

“We entered what would turn out to be a year of more stability, excitement for the plans that we had, meeting goals that we set, and the joy of working with a lake that was full,” Boyer says.

Two years ago, Austin Boats and Motors added a Spanish page to its website to address a growing boating demographic in central Texas.

The following year, more than $300,000 in Ranger bass boat sales were directly attributed to that change, Boyer says.

And by contacting and proactively meeting with state and federal government representatives, Austin Boats and Motors continues to bring awareness to water supply, conservation, quality and usage issues that affect residents who depend upon the Highland Lakes as a water resource.

“We’ve attended the American Boating Congress to be part of the legislative process, and we’ve supported local activist groups like the Central Texas Water Coalition. Austin Boats and Motors also remains committed to making Lake Travis an outstanding place to live and relax,” Boyer says.

As a major contributor to the Lake Travis Education Foundation, Austin Boats and Motors staff has provided annual gala dinner table centerpieces, silent auction items, and cash donations.

“Our attendance at the annual gala allows us to interact with a large number of community members in a relaxed, fun setting,” Boyer says. “We believe the resulting community awareness puts us ‘top of mind’ with our local consumers when they get ready to purchase a boat or related items and services.”

By enhancing its commitment to the school district sponsored fishing team, Austin Boats and Motors has seen increased community interest in its Ranger boat line and other pre-owned bass boats.

“We provide a new Ranger in each central Texas fishing tournament,” Boyer says. “This promotes our dealership brand.”

Austin Boats and Motors is located 15 minutes west of downtown Austin, on a major highway that runs along the south shore of Lake Travis.

Through the 1980s and early 1990s, Ranch Road 620 was just a small two-lane country road. Infrequently traveled, it served only the retirement community close by and the occasional recreational boater.

Forty years later, Lakeway’s congested five-lane highway serves the fastest population growth area in the Austin metropolitan area.

Lakeway is flourishing as a resort community to both locals and visitors from afar who enjoy active lifestyles associated with lake living and water sports.

“Our business is located in the center of a thriving area that continues to enjoy the area’s strongest population and economic growth,” Boyer says. “We own our property, the largest property for any Austin dealership. We continue to increase our community activities in order to promote our location, create ways to expand product exposure to our new neighbors, and capitalize on our highway presence.”

 



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