ATLANTIC CITY — Jerry Flaxman, co-producer of this week’s in-water boat show in Atlantic City, hopes to build some enthusiasm for an industry that has taken a drubbing in the wake of the recession.
The four-day trade show begins at 11 a.m. today at the Farley State Marina off Huron Avenue in Atlantic City.
“Boating has come back,” Flaxman said. “It’s not where it was five years ago, but people are starting to get back into it.”
Of course, boat shows are for anyone who likes boating, not just those with the means to buy, he said.
“It’s about daydreaming. People like to look around at what they might want to buy in a few years,” he said.
The in-water boat show is the fall counterpart to Atlantic City’s popular winter boat show at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
“Boats look much better in the water. It’s their natural habitat,” Flaxman said.
The 28th annual Atlantic City In-Water Boat Show features cabin cruisers, small deck boats and family boats, among others.
“We have boats that meet all budgets, from $10,000 to $1 million,” he said.
Marinas and boat builders have seen cutbacks across southern New Jersey since the downturn in the economy in 2008. But some marine vendors on Wednesday said they have seen some promising signs this year.
“I had a great season,” said Jude Cioci, 36, who owns Harbor Detailing & Marine Survey Inc. in Brigantine.
He is promoting his new floating boat lifts at this week’s show. They use compressed air to lift the boat out of the water, he said.
“My detailing business has been very busy. People still want to maintain their boats,” he said. “And it’s labor-intensive work.”
The show takes place at the Farley State Marina, which is managed by the Golden Nugget casino hotel.
“We’re happy to have it at the marina to showcase our docks and amenities,” said Clyde Rawls, director of marina operations.
Rawls, 49, of Galloway Township, said the marina offers an experience most boaters can’t get anywhere else on the East Coast.
“We get a lot of people traveling up and down the East Coast in the spring and fall. And in the summer we get a lot of local boaters who come to Atlantic City to play and have fun,” he said. “We have live music into the night. People come here to party.”
Among the participants in this year’s show will be boater Ron Shriver, 65, a retired salesman from Stratford, Camden County.
He rents a slip at the marina every summer where he and his wife, Marcelle, and their Scotty Ollie spend weekends in the couple’s 31-foot cabin cruiser, The Commander.
Here they watch fireworks over the city’s skyline and enjoy evening cocktails with their neighbors, including their son, whose boat occupies an adjoining slip. It’s a relaxing way of life that is deserving of envy, Shriver said.
“We cruise and fish sometimes, but mostly we just stay here,” he said. “We only take it out once or twice a month.”
Shriver plans to attend the boat show to see the latest toys on the market. But he has no immediate plans to replace what he calls his inexpensive summer home.
“I’ll just be daydreaming,” he said.
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