Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Would-be boaters eye sample sizes as Tampa Bay Boat Show begins

Bay boats, such as this one by Skeeter, remain popular with anglers because they can run in shallow water and on good days head out to nearshore reefs.

TED McLAREN | Times (2007)

Bay boats, such as this one by Skeeter, remain popular with anglers because they can run in shallow water and on good days head out to nearshore reefs.

Like many luxury business owners, boat dealers have been holding their breath for the past couple of years. Not only was there a poor economy to think about, but recently there was also the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But with the well plugged and the bay area coastline relatively unaffected, boat dealers are slowly starting to exhale. People want to get back on the water, even if it's not the flurry of activity of a few years ago.

"It seems like things are on the upswing," said Jon Reinke of Outcast Marine in Tampa. "I think some of it is people wondering what was going to happen with the oil in the gulf. Once the oil started flowing, things started slowing down. They seem to be pulling the trigger now."

But potential boat buyers are aiming a little lower.

The most popular boats remain the "bay" boats, which are smaller and less expensive than offshore boats. They handle nicely in shallow water but can still withstand choppy bay water. On a calm day, the boats can run to nearshore artificial reefs.

Center console inshore flats boats and ski boats seem better suited for boater's budgets. These boats can range from $13,000 to $25,000, depending on size and engine setup.

"People have hit the reset button," said David Bair of Quality Boat Sales in Clearwater. "If they were looking at the 50-footer, now they're looking at the 35- to 40-footers. If they were looking at the 35-footer, now they're looking at the 25-footers. I don't think we're seeing people getting out, just downsizing a little."

Although some retailers say that's not necessarily true of people who already own boats.

"People who own boats are still generally looking to upsize," said Lou Vinci, owner of Indian Springs Marina in Largo. "What we're seeing at least is the people who are entering the market for the first time are generally looking for one size down from what they might have bought three or four years ago."

Reinke said he has noticed another trend at his shop. Pontoon boats, which are used mainly on lakes and rivers, have been selling well. They are mostly popular with older boaters, and are easier to handle than other boats.

"It's better than we've seen it in years," Reinke said. "I think people are feeling more confident (with the economy) than they have in years."

Reinke, Vinci and Bair will join several other boat dealers starting today at the Tampa Bay Boat Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. It's an opportunity for boat dealers to show off their new lines, and it's a chance for perspective buyers to see what's available before the holiday season.

And, according to Bair, it's easier than it has been in years for people to start boating.

"The cost of entry into boating is the least expensive it's been in years," Bair said. "Storage rates are lower, interest rates are at an all-time low. Gas prices are stable. It's almost like Wall Street. People like it when it's good or bad. But if it's uncertain, they don't like it. I think that time of BP was the uncertainty that affected things more than anything else."

Still, Vinci said boaters don't settle for just anything. It's a great big ocean, and buyers are looking for something they feel comfortable with.

"Boaters are basically irascible people,'' Vinci said. "My wife always hates when I say this, but when you leave land surrounded by a piece of fiberglass with some heavy weight around it, and you venture 20-30 miles out into the water to catch fish you could buy a lot easier at the fish market, you have to be a little different."

>>fast facts

Tampa Bay Boat Show

When/where: Today-Sunday, Florida State Fairgrounds (4800 N. U.S. Highway 301), Tampa

Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today and Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Admission: Free; $5 for parking


Gulf & Bay Florida Fishing School schedule: Saturday — noon: Gary Burch, on inshore equipment and techniques; 2 p.m.: Gary Burch, cast netting; 3 p.m.: Neil Taylor, kayak fishing. Sunday — 11 a.m.: Pat Damico, transition from fresh to saltwater fly fishing); noon: Ty Wallerstein, light-tackle reef fishing); 1 p.m.: Pat Damico, fly fishing in saltwater; 2 p.m.: Gary Burch, inshore equipment and techniques); 3 p.m.: Neil Taylor, fishing negative winter low tides.

What to expect: All kinds of boats, from deep-sea rigs to flats boats and personal watercraft. Also accessories, such as trailers, and docking and safety equipment. There will also be fishing supplies and experts on hand to answer questions.

Would-be boaters eye sample sizes as Tampa Bay Boat Show begins 11/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 7:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …