The New York State Senate passed a new bill this week that requires all boat operators convicted of boating while intoxicated to take a boating safety course. Currently, those convicted of boating while intoxicated, who are age 21 and over, are required to obtain a boating safety certificate before operating a boat. Local boat dealers are feeling cautiously optimistic that hard financial times may finally be in their wake. Bill Lieblein, co-owner of Port of Egypt Marine in Southold, and Jeff Strong, president of Strong’s Marine, with locations in Mattituck and Flanders, both said that their businesses generate 25 to 30 percent of annual sales from their presence at the boat show. Having cut back on new stock for the past few years, Albertson’s is focused on selling boats already in their inventory. Much as the banking industry has tightened up on real estate, potential lenders are also getting stricter on requirements for boat financing.
The Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota, Fla., which wrapped up on Sunday after four days of sunny skies, is known for having quality buyers.
Buyers are less cautious about spending money these days, said Jimmy Rogers, a yacht broker at Tom George Yacht Group. Chris Juall, founder of Lazy Bunz water floats, has been a vendor at the Suncoast show for three years.
Chris Juall, founder of Lazy Bunz water floats, was enjoying robust sales after coming off a successful Palm Beach International Boat Show. Although most of the boats MarineMax sold Friday were Boston Whalers, the retailer featured a range of sizes and brands along its docks, including Boston Whalers, Sea Rays, Meridians and an Azimut 55S.
Galati has added staff and now has seven locations on the Gulf Coast and one in Costa Rica. Plymale said Galati markets to its database before the show and encourages consumers to attend the show.

This year’s show, which opened Thursday, offered for the first time three days of seminars and hands-on skill training for powerboaters, organized by Discover Boating. There is a strong mid-range boat selection, Grant said, but consumers found all types and sizes of powerboats at the show — trailer-size boats, flats boats, cruisers and 40- and 50-foot motoryachts. The Discover Boating seminars help new boaters alleviate apprehension by working with a Coast Guard-licensed captain.
Active Interest Media owns show producer and owner Show Management and Soundings Trade Only. The new bill, sponsored by upstate Senator John DeFrancisco, expands on that law to include people under the age of 21. Lieblein is hosting two separate booths at the boat show and believes that the key to staying afloat is to diversify a company’s offerings. Called simply the Port of Egypt Marine Boat Club, the new venture allows boat enthusiasts to lease a boat for a season, avoiding the typical worries of boat ownership, such as maintenance and docking fees.
Over at Albertson Marine in Southold, owner Bill Witzke agreed that his service department kept his business on a steady course. Witzke and his crew will be at the boat show at the Mercury Marine booth, although he says he does not depend on the boat show for sales as much as other local boat dealers do. Witzke noted, is the fact that potential owners are having trouble securing loans to float their boating dreams. The 32-foot boat won a National Marine Manufacturers Association Innovation Award in the deckboat category at the Miami International Boat Show in February.
The show’s Galati fleet included a 40-meter (130 feet) $16.9 million Westport, the largest yacht at the show. He said the seminars have exposed people to powerboating and sailing from San Francisco to Miami.

Mike Singleton of the Cruising Florida Powerboat Academy said Friday morning’s seminar was well received.
Required fields are marked *Comment Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. Port of Egypt will be out in force at the Grady-White Boats booth, as well as hosting their own booth.
When people cannot afford new boats, he said, they tend to pay attention to the vessels they already own.
Singleton told five participants during the Close Quarters handling seminar that close-quarters control is all about managing inertia. Oaks said he has a pontoon boat on Lake Windward in Alpharetta, Ga., but he’s building a house on the Manatee River and would like to buy a second boat.
However, both have seen the tide begin to turn, with steady increases from the early part of 2010 to this month. On-water experience during the seminars and exposure to many types of boats at the show will help him make his decision, he said. Lessees can use the boat as much as they like and are financially responsible for gas and any damage that might occur.

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