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#425855 - 07/30/08 06:53 PM Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry  
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deepv Offline
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Quote:
Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry
by Greg Allen
All Things Considered, July 30, 2008

The economic downturn is taking a toll on the boating industry in Florida. With high fuel prices and expensive boat payments, many Floridians are finding it harder to use, sell — and keep — their boats.

Take Black Point Marina, south of Miami on Biscayne Bay. Marina officials say as fuel prices have risen, traffic here has gotten lighter.

For boater Hank Banalewicz, fuel costs about twice as much as last summer. On a recent morning, he says it cost him $250 to take out a boat. Last year, when gas was cheaper, it cost about $100 or $120.

"Oh, it's totally ridiculous," he says.

And as for boat traffic on the water?

"Hardly any boats . . . at all," he says.

Banalewicz says he takes his boat out less frequently now, and when he does, he uses it differently. He cruises less and anchors more.

That's the story in Florida — and also in Michigan, California and other places where boating is big. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state has more than a million registered vessels — one boat for every 18 people.

Von Skinner, a boat dealer who owns the Cozy Cove Marina near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., says the cost of fuel is also now becoming an issue with boat buyers.

"Two years ago, no one even asked how much fuel it burns — just how fast does it go, how many engines can I put on there?" Skinner says. "Now, of course, people are starting to think more fuel economy. The speed ain't as important."

'Big Yacht Guys'

Like most in the boat business, Skinner says his sales are off — down at least 50 percent from last year. Boats are luxury items — and expensive luxury items at that. A brand-new 34-foot Jupiter with twin 350-horsepower engines on display at Cozy Cove costs more than $250,000.

Skinner says he's getting by on his sales of used boats. He also says wealthy customers continue to buy Jupiters to fish from and to tow behind their mega-yachts.

"Those guys are still buying boats — the big yacht guys. But the average, everyday business owner, the guy who would own a boat—they're not buying boats right now. They're hurting," he says.

Elsewhere in the boating industry, things are worse. The nation's largest boat retailer, Marine Max, reported sales down by nearly 30 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Boat manufacturer Brunswick has announced plans to close 12 plants.

Nationwide, fewer boats were sold in 2007 than at any other time in the last 40 years, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The ripple effects from that slowdown extend far beyond boat dealers and manufacturers. The Marine Industries Association of Florida says that, overall, boating contributes more than $18 billion to the state economy. The figure includes manufacturers, retailers, dock space, service and maintenance fees and fishing supplies. Few now aren't feeling the pinch.

Charters Struggle In Islamorada

Islamorada in the Florida Keys — home to at least 90 fishing charter boats — bills itself as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World.

The slowdown has hit the charter fishing industry hard, according to charter boat captain Steve Leopold.

Onboard the 43-foot charter boat Yabba Dabba Doo, Leopold says it's the height of the summer fishing season, and he should be out every day.

"After July 4, our business was down 30 to 40 percent. That's a big hit," Leopold says.

Part of the problem is fuel. Leopold says the high cost of diesel forced him to raise his price by a couple of hundred dollars. But mostly, he says the economy is whittling away customers. People are spending less and fewer are willing now to put out the $1,400 that it costs for a full day of deep-sea fishing.

And some charter boats won't make it through the fall, he predicts.

"There already are some boats that are planning on going out of business," Leopold says.

Business Booms For Boat Repo Man

While most of the boating industry is hurting, there is at least one business that's thriving.

Bob Toney is the CEO of National Liquidators, the nation's largest marine repossession company. He's a boat repo man. At his company's docks in Fort Lauderdale, boats are everywhere.

"You have six docks that are probably 400 feet long. And [at] most of them, we have them double-stacked and triple-stacked deep. You've got several hundred boats in the water just right here," Toney says.

Toney's company has tripled in size over the last two years. His company repossesses most of the boats at auction, and despite the slow economy, he says sales are brisk. One reason: the weak U.S. dollar. Nearly two-thirds of the boats he repossesses are sold and exported to buyers overseas.


At National Liquidators, a boat repossessor in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the upsurge in boat repos has filled the parking lot and six docks.


At Cozy Cove Marina near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., brokers say they're still selling expensive models to wealthy customers, who use them to fish and to tow behind their yachts.



http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93081828


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

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#425874 - 07/30/08 07:59 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: deepv]  
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Al Offline
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Not good... not good at all.


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2004 Mercury 270 Dinghy.
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previous boats:
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#425883 - 07/30/08 08:10 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: Al]  
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seabuddy Offline
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Quote:
And as for boat traffic on the water?

"Hardly any boats . . . at all," he says.


Not true at all where I boat.

#425885 - 07/30/08 08:15 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: seabuddy]  
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deepv Offline
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Quote:
Black Point Marina, south of Miami on Biscayne Bay.


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

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#425889 - 07/30/08 08:22 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: seabuddy]  
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ABoater Offline
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Originally Posted By: seabuddy
Quote:
And as for boat traffic on the water?

"Hardly any boats . . . at all," he says.


Not true at all where I boat.








Same with me. Our Delta is jammed every w/e, and plenty of folkson the water during the week too.

Lake Tahoe was very busy during the 4th, and a few of the local lakes that we've enjoyed so far have been crowded.

If you didn't know it, it would seem that fuel was $2/gallon...

idn

#425890 - 07/30/08 08:26 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: ABoater]  
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seabuddy Offline
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Well, the article did sight all of one boater about his opinon on boat traffic, if I read it right.

#425910 - 07/30/08 08:58 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: seabuddy]  
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etyppo Offline
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I just found out our local Regal dealer is in the process of shutting down.

aboater - I think boat traffic is down on the Delta. Not dramatically, but it doesn't seem as busy to me, especially during non-holiday weekends. When I've been out on weekday nights, I pretty much have the place to myself. I've been contributing to it by not getting out for a couple of weeks now. I better fix that this weekend.

Gas was down below $5 at our marina the last time I checked. All the way down to $4.77!


2006 Cobalt 263 Mercruiser 8.1
#425940 - 07/30/08 09:51 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: etyppo]  
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seabuddy Offline
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Let us not confuse boat usage with boat sales, and this is about So Fla.

#425952 - 07/30/08 10:42 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: seabuddy]  
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Justification Offline
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Quote:
"Those guys are still buying boats — the big yacht guys. But the average, everyday business owner, the guy who would own a boat—they're not buying boats right now. They're hurting," he says.

The average everyday business owner? I don't understand that comment at all.
"workerbee Dave"



Talking with the marina Captains at Wahweap they say business is down, but it still seemed busy while we were there. We even looked at a few houseboats for sale and the Skipperliner dealer says he can get whatever we would be interested in as many boats are coming available. Even found the equivalent of "a little old lady driving to church on Sunday" boat that would fit our needs very well, but nowhere near our budget.
Quite a few boats on the road between here and there, and plenty of "RV across America" or "Cruise America" motorhomes too.

I guess it's kind of a schizophrenic market, depending on location and how the housing industry is locally. I'm sure there are parts of the industry that will be hurting, while others will see opportunity to get a good deal on a new or repo boat. If you hear of a screaming deal on a Red 2006-2008 X-30 with a big engine let me know.


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You should feel without beer.
#425955 - 07/30/08 10:57 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: Justification]  
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We have seen record numbers of boaters on the weekend since July 4th. Last weekend may have been the busiest we have ever seen!!


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#425958 - 07/30/08 11:07 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: Tblrocker]  
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Bonesian Offline
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Quote:
Let us not confuse boat usage with boat sales, and this is about So Fla.
You already did that with your previous posts.

#425981 - 07/31/08 12:17 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: Bonesian]  
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ABoater Offline
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^^^^^^^^

+1

#425985 - 07/31/08 12:22 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: etyppo]  
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ABoater Offline
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Originally Posted By: etyppo

aboater - I think boat traffic is down on the Delta.









Maybe by region, but the south Delta has been very busy.

Orwood trailers are parking quite a ways down the road from the ramp, since the interior lots have been full. There have been 30 minute lines just to be able to sit down and enjoy an Okie Taco!

I was at Tower Park last saturday, and they had ZERO dock space available. We had to go to the old rental docks to tie up. 20 minute wait at their restaurant.

The only place that resembles a ghost town is disco bay. But that is no surprise...

#425993 - 07/31/08 12:57 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: ABoater]  
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etyppo Offline
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Originally Posted By: ABoater


Maybe by region, but the south Delta has been very busy.

Orwood trailers are parking quite a ways down the road from the ramp, since the interior lots have been full. There have been 30 minute lines just to be able to sit down and enjoy an Okie Taco!

I was at Tower Park last saturday, and they had ZERO dock space available. We had to go to the old rental docks to tie up. 20 minute wait at their restaurant.

The only place that resembles a ghost town is disco bay. But that is no surprise...



That might explain it. My boat is in Stockton. We almost went to lunch at Tower Park last Saturday. Sounds like it was busy.


2006 Cobalt 263 Mercruiser 8.1
#426021 - 07/31/08 02:07 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: etyppo]  
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ABoater Offline
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Yeah save that trip for another day.

We enjoy Bob's at the Marina quite often.

And we really miss the Hatchcover...

I used to keep my S/R at Village West. The covered slips right across from the Yacht Club.

#426053 - 07/31/08 09:06 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: ABoater]  
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I've noticed it quite a bit.

We live on a cove, and usually on nice summer days, our backyard is a bunch of boats tied up and at anchor. Weekends usually 50 boats. Weekdays maybe 20 or so.

This year weekends are 20 or so, weekdays only 3-5.

#426080 - 07/31/08 11:07 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: seabuddy]  
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deepv Offline
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Originally Posted By: seabuddy
Well, the article did sight all of one boater about his opinon on boat traffic, if I read it right.


Agree.


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

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#426082 - 07/31/08 11:12 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: deepv]  
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deepv Offline
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I was out at Avalon (took the ferry) a couple of weeks back and there was probably a 10% to 15% vacancy on the morings (At least 50% in front of Hamilton Cove, 30% at Descanso Beach and full up in the Harbor Proper) at 9:00am Saturday Morning. I have the pictures to prove it but need to upload them to photobucket and post them. Last year it was full up on Friday morning and all through the weekend.


72% of fatal boat accidents are caused by
boaters that haven't taken a safe boating course.

[Linked Image][Linked Image]
#426103 - 07/31/08 11:50 AM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industry [Re: deepv]  
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ABoater Offline
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^^^^^^^

I could see that. That's about a 50 mile round trip, right? (I've always wanted to make that trip in my own boat one day).

That's the nice part of our Delta. Sure, it's a 1,000 miles of waterways, but you don't have to use all of them in one day.

There are plenty of different boating opportunites within 5 minutes of most marinas/ramps.

A guy could have all the fun that he wants on just a few gallons of fuel...

#426146 - 07/31/08 01:55 PM Re: Economy Starts To Sink Florida Boating Industr [Re: ABoater]  
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This is an interesting article. Last 2 times that I've gone out on the gulf, I had to use the overflow parking once, and the second time it had vehicles in it. I have seen more new boats at the ramp than in the past year.

I trailered to the east coast last Friday, and there was quite a lot of traffic in the ICW in the Merritt Island area. I went by a ramp in Clearwater on Sunday, and it was pretty packed, for 4:00P.M..

I am on the west coast of Florida.


Juan

2006 Regal 1900 4.3 GXi
2005 Dodge RAM 1500 4.7L

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