New Jersey sees an industry upsurge

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Business is looking up for many in New Jersey’s marine industry.

Viking Yacht Co. expects that it will sell 55 to 60 boats during the 12 month-period that ends in July, a number that will make the builder profitable and an increase from 42 boats last year, the Asbury Park Press newspaper reported.

Viking has called back about 200 workers since February.

Some boat dealers at the Jersey Shore are reporting better sales as well.

Boat sales in New Jersey have seen treacherous waters during the last five years. In 2010, $183 million was spent on new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories in the Garden State, down from a whopping $414.7 million in 2006, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The pace of the drop has slowed in recent years. Last year’s sales figures were 19 percent lower than those of 2009, which were 24 percent lower than the year before.

Although reports are mixed, with some businesses not seeing forecasted improvements, Melissa Danko, executive director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, said optimism is rising. Improvements in the economy and consumer confidence will help the industry, she said.

“Overall sentiment has been much more positive in terms of heading in the right direction,” Danko told the newspaper. “I think we are seeing signs of improvement, some signs of recovery. There is always a piece of negative that may impact us along the way, same as other industries.”

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