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Boat sales increase in East Tennessee

11:15 PM, Jan 7, 2013   |    comments
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Boat sales are increasing in East Tennessee as the industry prepares to show off its newest watercraft in expos across the region in just a few weeks.

The American Boat Center in West Knoxville organizes the Downtown Knoxville Boat Show in March.  Sales Manager Ryan Jones said sales in 2012 were 10 percent higher than they were in 2011.  He also said his company has seen a 15 percent jump in pre-order sales as well.

"Everybody's business seems to be up," Jones said.

He said there are several factors for the increase.  Jones told 10News more people are buying boats because of the resurgent economy.

He also said more baby boomer retirees are moving to East Tennessee interested in buying watercraft.

"They're coming here to retire and they want to be on the water or they want to golf," Jones said.

Another factor influencing sales: Hurricane Sandy.

The American Boat Center has received 12 calls from boat owners in the New York and New England areas looking to replace house boats and yachts lost to that destructive, October storm.

Boat Broker George Norman, of Yachts Unlimited, also said he has received 40 calls and made two sales to people from the Northeast.  However, he said he does not expect sales in that market to really increase until one thing happens.

"I think there will be [more sales] once more and more people get their insurance money," Norman said.

He also told 10News he thinks the boat industry will not be at full strength until the housing market gets stronger, as many people still think of buying watercraft as a luxury.

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