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July 31. 2014 11:52PM

Marina dealers say boat sales are on the rise


Ed Crawford, owner of Winnisquam Marine, and daughter Julie Crawford, who is a manager at the business, stand with their most popular boats — pontoon boats. (DAN SEUFERT/Union Leader Correspondent)

BELMONT — Weekend after weekend of beautiful weather is being credited in part with what marina owners statewide are calling a boom in boat sales this summer.

Marina owners and marine dealers in the Lakes Region say it’s been a great year for selling boats, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the nice weather so far in the summer of 2014.

“It doesn’t hurt that we’ve had so many great weekends in a row,” said Chris Templeton of Meredith Marina, who says he’s sold about 10 percent more boats than last year at this time.

Others said their customers have been expressing a need to finally enjoy themselves on the water.

“Some people are tired of having extra money to spend,” said Templeton with a chuckle.

“Honestly,” said Sean Mulligan, sales manager at Fay’s Boat Yard in Gilford, “people seem tired of being bummed out, and they’re here to boat for a change.”

Mulligan reports a 20 percent increase in boat sales above last year, and most of the sales are in the best seller among most marinas — pontoon party boats.

Ed Crawford of Winnisquam Marine in Belmont says he’s seeing at least 20 percent more sales, and most of his business is also in pontoon boats.

Ryan Crawford of the New Hampshire Marine Trades Association said not all marinas have seen increased business statewide.“But most are doing better than last year, easily,” he said.The boat sales business is still recovering from what Crawford called the worst time in the boating industry’s modern history, from 2006-2007.

The industry will likely never return to its heyday in the early 2000s, he said.

“I don’t know if boat sales will ever be that good again, but things are definitely getting better in the industry,” he said.

dseufert@newstote.com



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