Archive for » February 14th, 2018«

Detroit Boat Show to include career day, water skiing squirrel

The Feb. 17-25 show will span 450,000 square feet — 50,000 more than last year — with more than 100 vendors displaying boats of all sizes, styles and prices, said Amanda Wendecker, spokeswoman for Michigan Boating Industries Association, which produces the show.

Wendecker said she expects 70,000 people to attend the show. Last year’s official count was 69,169.

The show is a way for winter-weary metro Detroiters to look past frigid weather into a future of warm temperatures and open water and, as such, is prime for sales, Wendecker said. An estimated $50 million in sales are done during the show, with many dealers attributing up to half of their total annual revenue to the show.

Michigan’s boating industry is maintaining its growth since the recession, with more than $835 million spent in the past year on new boats, trailers and related accessories. The state is holding strong as the third largest marine market in the country.

New at this year’s show is a career day Feb. 22 intended to fill positions such as marine technicians and sales. High school and college students from around the Great Lakes region are invited to attend free of charge that day.

In addition, Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel — who has become something of an internet sensation and performed in front of millions of people at events across the country — will be shredding the waves during the show. The new Wake Rail Jam produced by Step Up Productions will feature a 50,000-gallon pool in which competitors are pulled across the course via gas-powered winch.

The show is sponsored by Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine, the Courtyard Detroit Downtown and Michigan Golf Cart.

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Grand Rapids Boat Show comes to DeVos Place

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 73rd annual Grand Rapids Boat Show kicks off Wednesday at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

More than 400 boats from more than 100 manufactures will be at this year’s event. Boats — including yachts, fishing boats, pontoons and personal watercrafts — fill up over five acres of DeVos Place. Also, there will be boat accessories, electronics, lifts, docks, ski and wake board equipment.

Special features at this year’s Grand Rapids Boat Show include a dive tank for scuba, boater safety certification, antique and classic boat display and more. Music and food from the Key West Crab Shack will be available at this year’s event.

According to the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, the recreational boating industry in Michigan has an annual economic impact of more than $7.4 billon. Michigan’s yearly retail sales of new boats, marine accessories and engines exceeds $867 million.

Tickets for adults cost $10, children between 6 and 14 years old are $4 and children under 5 are free. The show runs through Feb. 18.

You can visit the Grand Rapids Boat Show during the following times:

  • Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.



Grand Rapids Boat Show

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Boat Show takes over Miami

For the past 10 days, Tim Poppell of Vero Beach has been running on a reserve of energy he didn’t know he had.

The CEO of one of the boating industry’s oldest and best-known brands — Float-On Trailers — is ushering in his company’s 50th year of business this year. He has been working 18 hours a day to get the Float-On Boat Trailers display ready for tens of thousands of “prop spinners” at one of the nation’s largest and most important boat shows.

Thursday through Monday, the Progressive Insurance 2018 Miami International Boat Show will dominate the waterline of Biscayne Bay around Virginia Key. Based for the third year out of the Miami Marine Stadium, it will be located right across the iconic sound from the skyscraping condominiums of Brickell Avenue and downtown Miami.

Show hosts, the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, expect 100,000 visitors at this year’s show which will spur on about $854 million of sales, leads and economic impact.

Float-On will be one of 1,100 exhibitors displaying goods and services including more than 1,400 boats divided evenly between in-water and land displays.

For Float-On, making the 140-mile trip is worth the effort. The boating public respects the company’s five decades in business after patenting the aluminum saltwater boat trailer.

“We are the original aluminum saltwater boat trailer — pioneered the whole industry,” Poppell explained. “Torsion axles, disc brakes, stainless steel hardware, the Posi-Latch lock, winch stands and more are all features designed by us and come standard on three of our trailer models.”

While the main attraction at the Miami Boat Show is always new models of boats, Poppell hopes some shoppers give serious thought to what is under their potential new boat.

“Even the rear PVC guide rails and rounded-edge I-beams were all developed by Float-On 50 years ago,” he said.

Poppell, like many in the boating industry, has been working very hard in the past three years to keep up with demand. Boating sales nationally and in Florida have been on an upswing, and some hope the recent news about an increase in interest rates does not slow industry growth.

“We have to make hay while the sun shines,” Poppell said. “Overall, we’ve seen an uptick the past two years and it is increasing. Everybody talks about it, and nobody can put a time frame on it. We’ve had one of our biggest years of the past 50.”

Poppell said he employs 25 at his recently expanded 4,200 square foot facility in western Vero Beach. Show-goers will be able to find Float-On in booth C-248.

Show Details
Where: Miami Marine Stadium Park Basin, 3501 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami
Dates and times: Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day        
Admission: Premier Day (Thursday) $40; adult (age 13+) $25; two-day pass $45; five-day pass $100; child (12 and younger) free

Complete information including parking areas, water taxi and shuttle schedules, exhibitor lists, maps and show programs can be found at

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Some of Beaufort County’s private islands are for sale. Check out these grand escapes.

Russ Fielden climbed aboard his boat during the holiday season, used the craft’s enclosure and propane heater and cruised northern Beaufort County’s waterways in solitude.

As in, he didn’t see another boat on the 65-mile trip.

The Lady’s Island resident and real estate agent said that sort og privacy is what clients are craving when they seek to buy one of Beaufort County’s private islands.

Whether the island serves a modest fish camp or grandiose family compound, the network of marshes and waterways makes the area uniquely suited to those with the means to go off the grid, Fielden said.

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“I think the biggest draw is for some sort of retreat, to get away and cut the cord, so to speak,” said Fielden, whose family has had a fish camp on Fripp Inlet for decades. “It’s pretty remote.”

One of Fielden’s listings, a 41-acre waterfront estate on northern Lady’s Island known as Lucy Point, is under contract after years on the market. While not technically an island, it includes a 6-acre tract with almost 360 degrees of water and marsh frontage.

The soon-to-be owners plan to maintain the property’s natural feel and perhaps use the land as a family compound, Fielden said.

There are options in Beaufort County for those with the cash and desire to get away to a private island.

Sales don’t often move quickly. And that’s to be expected, experts say.

“Any high-end plantation property or island has a very small pool of buyers with the ability and interest in spending this type of money, so it takes longer than a typical sale.,” said Jason Burbage, a partner and broker in charge at National Land Realty. ”… It’s not uncommon for these properties to be on the market for a year or multiple years until it sells.”

Burbage listed Savage Island, near Bluffton, back in August.

The 400-acre property is comprised of five main islands and 18 hammock islands, surrounded by approximately 1800 acres of marshlands. The $5.95 million listing includes a four-bedroom main island house and manager’s house on the island, as well as a waterfront manager’s house located on the mainland in Bluffton.

It also includes a tractor shed, 10-dog kennel and a shop building. If a boat ride to the island isn’t your thing, there’s a spot to land a helicopter.

Five more houses and four more docks are permitted to be built on the island.

And while the pool of clients might be limited, the market is healthy, Burbage said. Owners of some private retreats in Beaufort County are looking to sell.

Among other islands available nearby are:

▪ Pine Island: A causeway connects a 400-acre plantation on mainland St. Helena Island to 77-acre Pine Island. The property has been the getaway for owner Harry Hanna’s family for the past 50 years. Hunting, fishing, crabbing, water skiing and tranquil shrimp boat views are among the selling points.

Buildings include a hunting lodge used for family gatherings, a caretaker’s house, a cottage and a barn.

Bobby Stokes, Hanna’s son-in-law, declined to say how much the family is asking for the land. But he said they hope the unique property goes to another family to enjoy the same way and remains shielded from development.

The property is protected from storms and tides by 20-foot bluffs, Stokes said.

“There’s very few, if any, types of property like this on the East Coast, because of the spectacular view,” he said. “You can see for miles and miles…It’s a peaceful environment.”

▪ Grangers Retreat: The 27.6-acre island on St. Helena was listed this month. Up to 10 individual lots are for sale, or a single buyer can own the island for $1.75 million.

The undeveloped island includes a dock and also a dock and parking area on the mainland adjacent to the public Wallace Boat Landing. The real estate listing touts a “magical opportunity” to own a place to relax after a day of golf or boating.

The property is ideal for one owner wanting a secluded getaway or a developer who envisions a small waterfront project, realtor Sheila Bell said.

▪ Rose Island: Adjacent to Lemon Island off of S.C. 170, 110 acres of high ground has been annexed into the town of Port Royal. The property includes a 2,000 square-foot home with gourmet kitchen and pool, walking trails, generator and well.

A development agreement allows for 20 waterfront lots. The property went back on the market last year for $2.95 million.

“Think of this as an opportunity for a totally private retreat, a luxury fishing destination or a totally secluded low density development,” the listing says.

▪ Cherry Hill Knoll Island: A 30-acre island off of St. Helena offers views of nearby Fripp, Hunting and Harbor islands and access to pristine fishing grounds. At $499,500, it’s a relative bargain compared with some others in Beaufort County.

So what options are there for those of us without millions tucked away for an island playground?

There is Hunting Island, one of the most visited state parks with 5,000 acres of forest, trails, beach and camping. And the state recently snatched up nearby St. Phillips Island, the former private retreat for media mogul Ted Turner and his family.

Plans for public access to the compound are still being fleshed out, but it’s a good bet for the right rental price, your next family vacation could include sitting on the wide screen porch of the island’s main house. In other words, you can live like the Turners for a fraction of the cost.

Just keep it to yourself.

“When people ask me about the Lowcountry and the island and what it’s like, I tell them about all the bugs and the humidity and tell them they wouldn’t like it,” Teddy Turner, Ted Turner’s son, told The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet in 2015. “We gotta keep this paradise a secret.”

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