Boat Show Sets Sail at Reliant

The Houston Boat Show is underway at Reliant Center. Boat sales have been low the past few years thanks to the weak economy but initial signs indicate things may be pick up this year. Bill Stamps reports.
Whether it’s a small boat for fishing or water skiing, or large cabin cruiser type yacht, you have to have extra money in your account to buy one. The past few years Americans either didn’t have the money or didn’t want to spend it in case of an emergency. And that meant boat sales as low as the industry has seen.

"Oh yeah, the industry was off more than half."

Bob Bean is General Manager of Marine Max in Seabrook.

"We all felt it as an entire industry. But it seems the last couple of months, people have really started feeling good. Maybe some of the influence of the elections and the tax laws being solidified now, I think have helped people with their level of comfort to maybe make some decisions and get back to living life, having fun and enjoying things."

Bean and others in the industry believe 2011 will be a good year for boat sales.

"The Fort Lauderdale Boat show, which is the country’s largest, sales were up significantly for us and other retailers in that event. We had a show in Sarasota Florida, our sales were way up for the year in that show as well. We have New York, Atlanta’s going starting next weekend."

David Foulkrod is President of Houston Metropolitan Boat and Trades.

"We saw the automobile industry drop off and the government come and rescue automobile manufacturers. We didn’t see that in our industry and some of our manufacturers suffered and had to close their doors for a little while, readjust their mix and start over again."
 
And now…

"People are a little more comfortable with the changes in where this country is heading and that’s going to help us going into this next year."

Robert Huckabee of Katy is one of those people the industry will be counting on to open up their wallets. Huckabee is thinking about buying a fishing boat.

"Right now, I’m just looking and seeing what I can do another six months to a year down the road."

The Houston Boat Show is just getting underway and there’s already a since of optimism from retailers and that’s something there wasn’t much of this time last year.