Boat show proves boat business is back – WCSH

ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — This is prime time for people to be on their boats, or looking to buy boats. Judging by Friday’s turnout, a lot of them will be heading to Rockland for this weekend’s big on-the-water boat show, sponsored by Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors magazine.

There were plenty of boat lovers looking around on Opening Day. They looked at large, luxury yachts, smaller custom motor and sail boats and even hand-made kayaks and rowing boats. The activity is continued good news for the industry, which took a beating in the years after the 2008-09 recession.

People in the boat business say sales of high priced boats have been doing well over the past several years, but that its taken a lot longer for medium and lower price sales recover.

Now dealers say even that is happening. Tony Fitch, a salesman at Jeff’s Marine in Thomaston, said he doesn’t think it’s come back to pre-recession levels yet, “but definitely on the upturn. We had a really good spring.”

John Hanson, publisher of the magazine that sponsors the show, says younger people are starting to look at boats again, and considers that a hopeful sign.

And at the higher price end, Hinckley Yachts, one of Maine’s best known builders, says the company had twice as many orders this year as last, and is on pace to have its best sales year ever. Hanson says custom builders are generally busy, and some even have a backlog of orders once again. He says that bodes well for the boat business in Maine and the many jobs that go with it.

The boat show runs through Sunday on the Rockland waterfront. Sunday is the always popular “boatyard dog” competition.

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