A promising Boat and RV show brings hope to the Coast

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Boat and RV show has been an annual event on the Coast for 52 years. The three day display, showcasing the latest 2013 boat and RV models, came to a close Sunday afternoon.

Event coordinators said this year's show was a success and revealed the Coast is bouncing back from a sluggish economy.

It was a crowded room, full of hundreds of boats, vendors, manufacturers and curious eyes.

"The attendance has been up, I know the boat dealers have said they've sold a lot of boats. So, I think it's a real good mark for the economy turning around," said marketing director Melissa Miller.

Miller said this year's show is evidence attitudes are changing when it comes to big ticket items.

"I think lending has eased, I think it's a great time to buy a boat," said Miller.

Jim Seal couldn't have agreed more.

"We boat quite frequently, so we're kind of thinking about upgrading," said Seal, a resident of Pass Christian.

The long time boat owner said even though the economy may not be promising, giving up his boat is not a sacrifice he's willing to make.

"Well, I mean we're surrounded by water. So, I mean it's a shame if you don't have one," said Seal.

But, you didn't have to be a boat owner to enjoy the show.

Patrick Jewell, of Biloxi, said he wasn't leaving with a new boat.

Instead, he was eyeing the selection, educating himself so one day he can make the plunge.

"Well, they're all pretty eye catching. I think I'm just keeping my mind open about the choices," said Jewell.

He understood the benefits of the shiny displays.

"It's kind of unique to the Gulf Coast area. I mean, why not take an opportunity if you can to go out and fish and have fun in the water." said Jewell.

That's something that hit home for Miller and it's what kept her passionate for what she calls a show with character.

"We use it for everything. It's what we do every weekend. We ski. We swim. We travel by boat. We go out to dinner by boat," said Miller.

As nicer weather sets in, there is hope throughout the Coast that the waters in 2013 will have boatloads of music, fishing and smiles.

"You know, we just love it," said Seal.

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