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VIDEO: South Carolina marinas benefit at recent show

The three-day Grand Strand Boat and Sportsman Expo wrapped up on Sunday at the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Convention Center, with attendance up about 30 percent from the previous year.

The growing popularity of boating is not just visible at the show, but also at local marinas.

"You're seeing more and more boats that are booking their slips year-round, instead of just monthly," Susie Watson, manager at the Harbourgate Marina in North Myrtle Beach, told WBTW.

Watson said that in the last 18 months she has seen an increase of about 15 percent in the number of boats using the marina.

"The recession and boating kind of took a big dip, so therefore now that the economy is boosting back, gas prices are coming down, we're seeing a lot more people interested in boating," she said.

But the crowds are also changing. Watson said family boating is on the rise.

That's a factor show promotor Kevin Bennett also attributes to a boom in the industry. He said it's also why more boats are accommodating the trend.

"There are more amenities on them for the families. They'll have bathrooms on them and they'll have seating, so the boating industry is really going after what the public wants," Bennett said.

People are more inclined to take advantage of their surroundings, whether that's the inlet, ocean, Intracoastal Waterway or a river.

"With the influx of people moving in, a lot of people are boaters and they're getting back into the sport as it becomes more affordable," Bennett said.

"It's just good to see that the families are coming back out, that there is more of an interest in fishing and the boating activities that are going on," Watson said.

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