Vendors, Residents Give Their Take On Boat Industry Sales

BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -- "We get people here at the boat show, and families can come down in a boat, and just dream about what it's like to have your first boat, or your next boat," said Dan Miller, President of Gulf Coast Shows.

That's the situation the Butera family of Biloxi found themselves in. They go to Horn Island a lot during the summer. One boat in particular reeled them in, but with the economy slowing down. Dad, Pete, says they'll probably wait another year before buying a new boat. He believes the state of the economy will have some impact on whether or not to make recreational purchases.

"I do think it will a little bit this year, but everybody's giving a promising outlook for the end of the year," Pete Butera said.

Boats at the show range from a few hundred dollars for kayaks to hundreds of thousands of dollars for high powered luxury boats. Miller says people in the coastal areas have not shied away from buying boats.

"It's interesting. At our last show in Mobile, our attendance was up 25 percent, and sales were good, from all the dealers, and all sizes of boats," Miller said. "Although boat sales may be off nationwide, they're great on the Gulf Coast. I think our economy from Gulfport, Mississippi to Orange Beach, Alabama, the next two to ten years, is going to boom, and the boating business is going to boom with it."

The Boat Show runs through Sunday at the Coast Coliseum.