Country star to headline Sea Ray’s AquaPalooza

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Sea Ray Boats announced that country music star Brad Paisley will headline the AquaPalooza 2010 Signature Event, scheduled for July 10 at The Reserve at Lake Travis near Austin, Texas. The free event, hosted by Sea Ray and its local dealer Sail & Ski Center, will have Paisley performing in front of a crowd of thousands of concert-goers on boats, floats and kayaks.

For those who can't make it to Lake Travis, Sea Ray dealerships around the world will transform more than 100 additional locations into official AquaPalooza sites, making it easy for boaters to get to and enjoy the family fun. In 2009, the fourth annual AquaPalooza attracted approximately 15,000 boats and 84,000 guests to 123 events.

Marina of the Year award handed out

Bill Bird Marina, at Haulover Park in Miami, was named this year's National Marina Day Marina of the Year. Bill Bird Marina celebrated National Marina Day 2009 by dedicating the completion of the 10-year marina expansion project, which grew the marina from 39 slips to 150. The marina hosted an all-day event that included tours of the facility, fishing demos, canoe and kayak rides, dragon boat rides and races, safety vessel tours and many other activities.

Besides receiving a plaque and recognition for the efforts, the marina will also be the site of the opening June 12 event for National Marina Day 2010.

Solid sales, good crowds at Palm Beach show

Following a trend with several recent boat shows, optimism was on the rise at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, held March 25-28 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Chuck Cashman, regional president of MarineMax East Florida, says the dealer sold a 47-foot Azimut and a 34-foot Meridian to new buyers at the show.

"We thought the smaller fishing boats such as the Boston Whalers and the Sea Rays would sell, so this was a surprise," says Cashman. "We had good traffic, and it was encouraging to see new buyers."

He says many people have been deferring a major purchase for a long time. "People are realizing their kids aren't getting any younger, they're not getting any younger, so maybe the time is finally right to get that boat," he says.

Show Management reported attendance was up 3 percent, boats on display were up 3 to 4 percent, and overall exhibitors were up 20 percent compared to last year.

Hacker Boat Company, of Silver Bay, N.Y., exhibited for the first time, and sales manager Dan Gilman says it was a good decision. "We have several potential clients very interested in buying a boat, which is exceptional, especially considering that Hacker-Crafts are the premier wooden motorboat and sell for $150,000 to $180,000," he says. "We will be back next year."

Kevin Callahan, sales and construction manager of Moran Yacht & Ship, which specializes in megayachts and displayed five 100-plus-footers, says the company came away with several strong leads.

"The buyers are coming out of their shell again. ... We've definitely turned the corner," Callahan says.

- Elizabeth Ellis

MIAF elects new officers

The Marine Industries Association of Florida announced its new officers for 2010.

President: John Yudin, Guy, Yudin & Foster, LLC; first vice president: Frank Donohue, Dream Harbors; second vice president: Paula Fulton, BMC Boats Inc.; treasurer: Brett Hinely, Blue Water Bay Marina; secretary: Hans Wilson, Hans Wilson & Associates Inc.; immediate past president: Michael Kiefer, Kimley-Horn and Associates.

This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue.

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