Expanded San Diego Boat show opens

SAN DIEGO – The doors to the 19th San Diego Boat Show opened yesterday with visitors finding an expanded exhibition and the Southern California marine industry watching to see if 2007 will get off to a better start than 2006, signonsandiego.com reported in a story on its Web site this morning.

Although sales were hurt last year by high gas prices and the cooling housing market, Gary Marow, general manager of Olympic Boat Centers in Pacific Beach, Calif., was quoted as saying that while last year was flat in terms of sales, he is “cautiously optimistic” about 2007.

“We had a very nice end of 2006,” Marow said. “People were coming out of their shells.”

The San Diego Boat Show, which runs through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center, has expanded by 25 percent and organizers expect as many as 30,000 visitors.

Rob Sanford, general manager of Sundance Marine in San Diego, said his business has never been better.

“The people who are whining about the boat business saying that it’s an off year, they aren’t trying that hard,” Sanford was quoted as saying. “The overall market has been off for 2006 as interest rates went up a little bit and the real estate market leveled off because a lot of people bought boats using their home equity lines.”

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