Boat show floats into Newport

NEWPORT – BEACH – Got a few million bucks burning a hole in your pocket?

Check out the new Horizon V 80, an 80-foot, shiny powerboat up for grabs in the Newport Harbor, one of about 200 vessels docked near Lido Village for the annual Newport Boat Show. A similar boat sold recently for $3.5 million.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a millionaire to get your hands on a boat. There’s a large range of vessels on sale, including small sailboats, sportsfishing boats and mid-range boats. Boats range from 22-foot tugboats to a 115-foot yacht.

The show, which started Thursday, draws about 15,000 people during the four-day event.

The show claims to have the most big boats, vessels in the 40- to 60-foot range, of any show west of the Mississippi. When it started in 1973, there were only about 50 boats on display. Many of the boats are between 40 feet and 60 feet, with a few longer than 100 feet.

According to a study to be released soon by the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, new boat sales were up 8 percent to 9 percent last year, led by a surge in people buying personal water crafts, jet drive boats, ski boats and aluminum outboard boats. Sales for smaller boats are expected to grow in 2015.

Figures on bigger boats were not yet available.

Spokeswoman Martha McIntosh said despite the rain Thursday, there was a line to get tickets.

She said there are a lot of new boats in the show this year.

“There’s new, unique boats coming onto the market,” she said. “It seems to mark a turning point. It’s maybe the best we’ve seen in a decade.”

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