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In a report from the Globe and Mail yesterday, sales at the Toronto Boat Show are holding steady from lastyear. I've heard from several sources that people are still buying. One dealer that usually sells 9 SeaDoo boats all season, sold 8 the first weekend of the show.

Thanks to Sweetwater Cruising for the heads up on the story.

Droves of boaters drown out economic worries

January 14, 2009

Midwinter voyageurs have been flocking to the Toronto International Boat Show, where a deluge of sales on the weekend suggests enthusiasts will fork out plenty of cash to escape the woes on land.

"Right now, today, we're likely ahead of the game at least by $1-million, and the show's just getting going," said Greg Crate, owner of Crate Marine Sales.

On the opening weekend, two of the luxury yachts that dominate the main hall sold for a handsome $1.5-million each - one to a couple who've never owned a boat before.

As the Boat Show at Exhibition Place usually accounts for about 70 per cent of Crate's annual revenue, the wave of sales looks set to carry the company comfortably through 2009.

"We feel this year there's been more serious people at the show than we've seen in a while," said Mr. Crate, estimating that this year's show sales will top $5-million. "They want to see the ice gone and sun shining, and get boating."

Boat sales at some shows in the United States have slumped by up to 50 per cent, and there were fears that would wash over Toronto, too.

But Carolyn Burgess, owner of Scarborough's The Rigging Shoppe, said there has been no downturn yet. U.S. manufacturers are now hoping the Canadian market can help tow them through the turmoil.

"People who are passionate about boating are going to continue to be passionate," Ms. Burgess said.
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