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Thursday, 13 January 2011
The Nashville Boat Show 2011
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Boating Interest Increasing, Value Rules
13 January 2011
 
The 2011 Boat Show is now history - the boats and booths have been removed from the Nashville Convention Center, but the snow remains. So if you didn't go this year, what did you miss? There were definitely fewer big boats this year, a trend that began last year. The largest boat on the floor was a Regal 46 footer, and it was very, very nice. There were no houseboats this year, none! With the growth in prominence of the Louisville Houseboat Expo, scheduled for mid-March, and tight marketing budgets, it seems all of the doublewide-on-a-barge-with-a-hottub-on-the-roof companies will be concentrating their efforts on the Ohio again this year. As you might expect, there were the ubiquitous aluminum pontoons, low freeboard fishing boats, and ski boats with the latest designs in towers.
Another trend - no sailboats, except one handbuilt rowboat with a sail rig tucked in the lee of a floating dock run aground on the concrete shoal. But that rowboat was gorgeous, and the craftsmanship its builder demonstrated with a cedar strip-built Adirondack guideboat in progress helped make his display zone a refreshing island in the endless sea of fiberglass and aluminum.
 
There were somewhat fewer display booths around the perimeter of the hall and on the mezzanine. Redneck Yacht Club was replaced by the Most Dangerous Catch. Your own Squadron was able to work from two adjacent booth spaces at the head of the escalator down to the main hall, and this worked to our advantage. We set up a fire extinguisher demonstration, on loan from USPS District 17, adjacent to our education information booth. On Saturday, during the high traffic afternoon and early evening, Tamara Nelson challenged hundreds of kids and their parents to try to put out the raging electronic fire with a laser spraying extinguisher, and in the process taught them to aim at the base of the fire, not at its center. Thank you to all who set up, manned, struck the booth, and to all of our members and friends who stopped by to chat.
 
The new boat dealers I spoke with spoke of cautionary production increases on the part of manufacturers, with larger boats that were once shipped for inventory now only being built to order, partly due to the reluctance of lenders to finance inventory. Used yacht brokers spoke of a good volume of unit sales, but also of buyers continuing to drive a hard bargain. For the boater with "two-foot-itis", there may never be a better time than now to seek the cure.
 
From my observation, attendance was up over last year, especially on Saturday when the hall was downright crowded at times. And that is encouraging, both for the overall economy where a boat is a discretionary purchase, and for the health of our sport and our Squadron.
P/C Tom Hudson, AP
   
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Posted on 01/13/2011 3:58 PM by Tom Hudson
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