Dave White, New York Sea Grant, Recreation/Tourism Specialist, P: 315-312-3042, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Wickham, Boat Show Manager, P: 585-526-5460
Bruce Walker, Boating Industries Association President, P: 315-387-3881
New York Sea Grant will continue to educate on boater safety this
season. Its "Discover Clean and Safe Boating exhibit" has been seen by
more than 500,000 boaters and potential boaters and has visited major
events in all of New York state’s coastal regions from New York City and
the Hudson River to Oneida Lake, the Finger Lakes, the Great Lakes and
the St. Lawrence River.
(Top row, l-r) John Jablonski and Chris Beardsley of The Sailboat Shop in Skaneateles, NY, have added two lines of power boats to take advantage of the wave surfing trend; Debbie Scarpinato of Oneida Lake Marina in Canastota, NY, spoke with
2014 Central NY Boat Show visitors interested in the
increasingly-popular pontoon boats. (Bottom photo) Marina operators, including Jeff Kennedy of Morgan Marine on Keuka Lake,
see a bright future in 2014 for boating in New York state, particularly
for pontoon-style boating and wave surfing. All Photos: Brian P. Whattam
Syracuse, NY, March 6, 2014 – The Boating Industries Association (BIA) of Upstate New York, and New York boat dealers and marina operators are optimistic about the 2014 boating season and taking advantage of trends to attract buyers of all ages and lifestyles.
BIA President Bruce Walker, sales and service manager with Reiter’s Marina in Sandy Creek, says, ‘The Boating Industries Association members are upbeat about the 2014 sales season. "Lifelong boaters are passing on the love of boating and safety tips to the younger generations, the economy is picking up, and finance rates have fallen to offer the boating industry in upstate New York a bright outlook this year."
Oneida Lake Marina co-owner Debbie Scarpinato of Canastota, NY, describes the boating experience that lures buyers, noting the increasing popularity of pontoon boats at the BIA-sponsored February Central New York Boat Show in Syracuse, NY.
‘More and more people are looking at pontoon boats for their affordability. Pontoons are now made like floating living rooms, comfortable for adults, kids and dogs. They are easy to operate; quieter; can be customized with double decker slides, barbecues, bars, and fishing accessories; and will rock you to sleep at night,’ Scarpinato says.
Scarpinato says pontoon buyers includes all ages, anglers, couples, and families.
"More people, including first-time boaters, Boomers, and families with children are looking at boats that offer ease of entry. The pontoons have extended sun platforms and easy rear entries, but the utilitarian Boston Whalers and sporty fiberglass runabouts also remain popular with boaters," says Jeff Kennedy of Morgan Marine, Penn Yan, NY.
"The pricing range of the different styles of vessels allows more people to consider upgrading or buying a first boat," Kennedy adds.
Over the past three years, Kennedy has invested in his family-owned operation on Keuka Lake with the construction of new docks and purchase of two cottages, a bunkhouse, and property for a new storage and service complex.
"With a developer building a new hotel nearby, we also see growth in the boat rental market here," Kennedy says.
Owner John Jablonski and General Manager Chris Beardsley of The Sailboat Shop in Skaneateles, NY, recruited interest in wake surfing – riding a board on the waves created in the wake of a small boat – at the 2014 boat show.
"Wakeboarding is a trend just starting to catch on in New York state," Beardsley says. "The lower speed, lower impact makes wake surfing open to more people than waterskiing."
The Sailboat Shop has recently become the dealer of Tige wakesurfing boats for the area from Central New York north to the Adirondacks and Canada, south to Pennsylvania, west to Medina, and east to Albany and half of New England. The manufacturer has not been in the area for at least 15 years.
‘We have studied the wake surfing trend for about five years,’ Jablonski says, ‘and now is the time for us to add this style of boat to our business mix.’
The Sailboat Shop will host a series of wake surf demonstrations on various lakes in the Central and Finger Lakes regions of New York state this summer.
In recent years, the Boating Industries Association (BIA) of Upstate New York has added boating safety education to its annual winter boat show to attract families, hearing-impaired boaters, paddlesport enthusiasts, and water rescue First Responders.
BIA partners with New York Sea Grant to offer free in-water life jacket safety demonstrations at the show. New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White teaches the different types of life jackets, the boating regulations associated with life jackets, and how to get a good fit for everyone in the family, including the family dog.
"People are listening about protecting themselves and their pets, and more of the dealer exhibits at the show are offering life jackets for sale with a number of vessels sporting stuffed canines wearing life jackets," says White, who received a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Wear It! Award for excellence in life jacket education at the show (See "U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Presents Wear It Award to NY Sea Grant Specialist").
Lisa Spiegel, representing Starcraft at the Forest Fisheries display that included pontoons and angling boats, commented, "We have kids and two dogs on our boat on the St. Lawrence River all the time and none of them get onboard without a life jacket."
For more information on the BIA that provides diverse resources to the boating industry, advises state and federal governments on marine issues, and has members located in the 1000 Islands, Fingers Lakes, Central New York and Oneida Lake regions of New York State, is online at www.cnybia.com.
More Info: New York Sea Grant
New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University
and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based
programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP
engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting
scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed
to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our
aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated
services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental
sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great
Lakes resources since 1971.
For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, which, in 2014, merges with the program's e-newsletter, Currents. NY Coastlines is published several times a year.