Downturn has yacht exporters seeking new markets

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Yacht exporters are riding a weaker dollar and reduced prices to new markets, while domestic sellers are seeing signs of life.

With exports to Northern Europe weakened by the recession, many importers have had to find new markets, namely in Australia, the Middle East, South America, Asia and countries in the Mediterranean, according to a report on Portfolio.com.

Larger, costlier yachts have been exporting more than smaller boats, said Andy Wiley, Coastal Maritime Stevedoring's general manager and vice president of operations. Most are headed to Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Tunisia, and West Africa.

Brazil and Australia haven't been hit as hard by the global recession as the United States and Europe, so there is more interest in buying luxury items. Although South America's middle class is growing, the region's protectionist duties make exporting tricky, said Mark O'Carroll, executive director of Global Marine Sales, an international yacht brokerage.

The Middle East still holds a lot of promise, despite the recent financial meltdown in Dubai.

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