Updated: Seattle Boat Show 2011

Update: Due to time constraints, I did not make it to the Lake Union part of the Seattle Boat Show this year. Disappointing for me, because I love checking out the yachts on the water. By all reports I’ve seen, including checking in with friends and clients — anecdotal evidence supports what my friend Deborah Bach at ThreeSheetsNW reports — that the mood is certainly more upbeat and people are thinking again of spending! Please check out the link: http://threesheetsnw.com/blog/archives/14972 

Seattle Boat Show 2011. I love visiting the boat show every year to see what’s new, plus it’s a good gauge for how our local economy is doing. Are boats selling? Or are people only looking? (Or — like the guy we rode up in the elevator with, are people not being able to resist great prices on their dream boats, and then get stuck owning two boats, because they can’t sell the other — which may be a sign of a slow recovery?)

Busy show, lots of people. The good news this weekend is that there are a lot of people at the boat show (at least at the Qwest Exhibition Hall), and vendors seem happy with the crowds. People also seem to be willing to shell out a few bucks for equipment and supplies, (not to mention new boats), where last year, they were tightly clutching their wallets. 

Who we visited. First up was CSR Marine because we need to haul out our boat. We visited with Scott Anderson (who was kind enough to take me sailing last summer), and got pricing for a haulout, bottom paint, checking the props and shaft, and fixing a little ding yours truly somehow managed to get last summer when I hit something that wasn’t visible in the water. (Divers say it’s nothing major). We also checked with in with Niel Steenkamp at Ocean Alexander, who seems to be selling boats right and left. If you’re in the market for an OA, check with Niel. Beautiful boats.

Recia Weigelt at Cleaner Cook has a great product for boaters who like to grill on their boats, but keep them looking clean and neat — not covered with food and grease. Her protective mats are selling well, and can be embroidered with your boat name, courtesy of the talented Ray, who was manning the booth with Recia. We stopped in at Lake Union Sea Ray to say hello to Steve, Bob, Heidi, Jon and Erik. So far this show, the 30′ and the new 35′ are the hot sellers! 

A lot of the marinas in the Northwest are there. Kevin Carlton at Roche Harbor is always friendly and RH is one of our favorite summer stops. The Port of Edmonds has a special book of deals it gives to marina guests. The Port of Bremerton gives away great bags for hauling stuff to the dock, just to name a few places and people we talked to. There are dozens more.

Yacht clubs, too. If you’re a boater looking to join a yacht club, they’re at the boat show, too. We visited with friends at Tyee YC, and Queen City YC actually has moorage available at it’s docks.

New and unusual boats. This year, we traveled to the north end of the exhibition hall and found the unusual Sealegs, a rigid hull inflatable with wheels, so owners can travel right out of the water onto the beach. Sealegs is a New Zealand company that launched in the U.S. last June. We talked to Jon Hoflich at their booth, and their product is getting a lot of interest from people who own waterfront homes (especially useful here in the Pacific Northwest), as well as military use, and fire and rescue crews. Sealegs just introduced the new All-Wheel Drive, so it can travel over terrain a little more rough than your usual sandy beach. Be looking for more from this unusual, but high-end boat dealer as they ramp up sales here in the Northwest — targeting families as the boats can be used for fishing, towing kids on the innertubes, and crabbing.

Next up — Lake Union boat show. We ran out of time to visit all the big yachts on Lake Union. I’m hoping to get there later this week, because it’s one of my favorites!

The only thing we bought this year — boat cleaner! So you know we’ll soon have the shiniest boat on the water!

Margo Myers, Principal, Margo Myers Communications

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