Lower interest rates, higher Lakes levels buoy industry hopes.
Written by Detroit News   
Sunday, 13 February 2005 17:15

Metro Detroit's boating aficionados capitalized on the state's heritage Saturday with the annual Detroit Boat Show.

Industry officials predicted increased boat sales this year because of lower interest rates and indications that Great Lakes levels are on the rise. As of December, there were 1,001,505 registered watercraft in the state, a slight decrease from December 2003 with 1,006,483. Last year, Michigan ranked top in the country for the number of registered watercraft.

The boat show will be in Detroit through Feb. 20 and is expected to draw about 80,000. More than 2,100 boats are expected to be sold.

"There's no statistically sound way of predicting what will happen, but we're optimistic about our boating registration and the future of boat sales in Michigan," said Van Snider, president of the Michigan Boating Industries Association, which owns and produces the boat show. "People can come here and find different models and different manufacturers ... and be prepared to receive a new boat before spring."

But those factors weren't enough to sway John Crary to buy another boat. The Rochester Hills resident grew up near Sylvan Lake and is eager to get the five boats he has back on the water this spring.

"I've got two kids in college -- I have to wait until they're done to buy," Crary said. "I have two out-of-state tuitions."

Lansing resident Scott Maynard agreed, but said he was tempted as he looked at all the boats on display.

"I enjoy going to the boat shows and seeing what's available," said Maynard, who grew up in the Walled Lake area.

Dearborn residents Steve and Carolyn Nolff used the Boat Show as an excuse to go downtown Saturday and window shop.

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