ATLANTIC CITY - The first day of the four-day boat show at Farley State Marina was a browser's market.
Connie Cross, a Connecticut resident vacationing in Wildwood, visited the Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat & Brokerage Yacht Show for the third time Thursday, but she won't be ready to buy for about 10 years.
The market could hardly be more buyer-friendly than now, but Cross and her husband are waiting until all their children move out before they upgrade from their 24-footer.
"We're just looking to see what kind of style we'll be into when it's time," said Cross, 50.
The sun shone and a west wind whipped through as people examined about 250 boats, ranging from 16 to 75 feet. Sailboat owners Manny and Rose Perez came from Toms River with absolutely no intention of buying a boat or even identifying one they might want to buy later.
"It's a nice day out, and it's nice to see the innovations in the boats," Manny Perez said.
Others, too, attended simply because they like boats. Bill Ridgway, 69, of Barnegat Township, made his sixth trip to the 26-year show while he tries to sell his own 25-footer.
The luxury-boat market has slipped with the economy. Show organizers cut the admission price from $20 to $12 in recognition of that. Signs on some boats advertised deep discounts, from $270,000 to $210,000 or even from $400,000 to $200,000.
Still, Ridgway said, the crowd seemed a bit smaller than last year.
"I think (the market) was starting to come back, but now it's sliding again," Ridgway said.
Avalon resident Scott Zurawski went to get advice about refinancing the 32-foot boat he bought just last year, even though, he said, "I got a pretty good deal at the time." Zurawski pays 8 percent interest on his loan and believes he can cut it to 6 percent.
Peter Goodchild, a Bermuda citizen who is visiting friends in northern New Jersey this week, drove down for the show almost as soon as he heard about it. He toured a few yachts Thursday but with no intention of buying.
"Things are real expensive nowadays," said Goodchild, 69. "You can get some good second-hand boats."
His very specific wish is a used 38-foot sport fishing boat, model year 2004 or 2005. Goodchild is looking in a price range of $150,000 to $200,000, and he said the new boats that would be suitable range from $300,000 to $400,000.
"I'm just going to keep looking around," Goodchild said.
Bob Gordon came from Jackson Township with his wife and son, and with a camera slung around his neck. He bought a 22-footer three years ago but wants something bigger now, he said: "The kids are getting bigger."
Gordon, however, would not settle on a price range until he had seen what he could get for a given price.
"I don't think I'll buy today," Gordon said as he strode down the dock.
If you go
What: Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat & Brokerage Yacht Show
Where: Farley State Marina, Atlantic City
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $12 for adults, $3 for children
On the Web: acinwaterboatshow.com
Contact Eric Scott Campbell: