Winter show season underway in New York

People stood in line Wednesday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, waiting for the New York Boat Show to open at noon.
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The New York Boat Show delivered solid opening-day attendance numbers Wednesday in Manhattan. Photo by Rich Armstrong.

The New York Boat Show delivered solid opening-day attendance numbers Wednesday in Manhattan. Photo by Rich Armstrong.

People stood in line Wednesday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, waiting for the New York Boat Show to open at noon.

Traffic built throughout the day and exhibitors were upbeat about 2015 sales and their outlook heading into the new year.

“The New York show has always been important to us,” Regulator Marine co-founder and president Joan Maxwell told Trade Only Today. “We have a lot of long-term dealers in the Tri-State area and Northern boaters have always liked [Regulator’s] mix of comfort and range for running offshore.”

Regulator is displaying five boats in New York, including its flagship 41 center console introduced at the Fort Lauderdale show last fall. Maxwell said the boat is a hit, as hull No. 4 is at the show and manufacturing is out to November.

Boston Whaler has 15 boats on display across its line, from 11 to 42 feet. Traci Davis, content and event marketing manager, said that the builder’s range and commitment to introducing new and innovative product is driving its success.

Whaler used the show — its 111th year — to introduce the new 280 Outrage, which inspired the company to host a VIP event tonight for customers and dealers, the first such event it has held in New York in recent memory.

More evidence of the show’s health can be found at the Hinckley/Hunt booth, which also is hosting a VIP event tonight. This is the first time in more than five years that The Hinckley Co. has exhibited in the Big Apple.

“We felt it was a good time to jump back into he New York market,” said director of marketing Roe O’Brien. “We’ve always sold boats in this region, and it’s one that no boatbuilder should ignore.”

There are also plenty of boaters in the region who might be looking for something a little less high-end than a Hinckley or a Hunt, and that’s the clientele Buster’s Marine Service caters to, with showrooms in Queens and Brooklyn.

The dealership was honored Wednesday by Bayliner president Keith Yunger for the manufacturer’s top sales at a single location.

David Schmitt, sales manager at Buster’s, said his dealership picked up the Bayliner brand two years ago and from 2014 to 2015 saw 160 percent growth in sales of new Bayliner models.

“New boaters are our primary customers, and we cater to them with everything from obtaining their boating license to operation training to picking up their boat each fall for winter servicing,” Schmitt said.

DeFeo’s Marina in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., only carries the Bennington line of pontoon boats and said that market continues to be strong in his area.

“2015 was our best year financially in 36 years in business,” said owner Steve DeFeo.

DeFeo has five boats on display ranging from $27,000 to $180,000 and said there’s a pontoon for any budget.

“You can do anything on a pontoon boat — water ski, fish, cruise, lounge. We’re selling a lot of boats to grandparents to keep their whole family together on the water.”

Tens of thousands of boating and fishing enthusiasts are expected to attend the show, which runs through Sunday, Jan. 10.

Local news outlets, including CBS 2 News, Crain’s New York and the Wall Street Journal, sent crews to the Javits Center on opening day to report on the show and state of the marine industry.

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