Despite the Recession, Big Yachts Are Selling

San Diego Boat Show Highlights Top End and Affordable Models

Friday, Jan 9, 2009  |  Updated 5:15 PM PDT
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Despite the Recession, Big Yachts Are Selling

Getty Images/Daniel Berehulak

San Diego Boat Show web site

One of the highlights of this year's San Diego Boat Show should have been a luxurious, 100-foot yacht. "But the dealer called up and said, 'Sorry, we sold it,'" says Boat Show organizer Jeff Hancock.

And that luxury yacht isn't the only one of its kind that's selling at this year's show. Hancock says high-end boats -- 45 feet or longer, going for $500,000 or more -- are finding buyers. 

Specialized sport fishing boats are also selling well, says veteran salesman Rob Sanford. He says fishing fanatics will cut back on other costs or luxuries to to help balance the family budget, but will still buy a boat, if the price and financing are right. "You know, this is what a fisherman does, so that's why they cut back on other areas of their life and this remains a priority," Sanford says.

Many of the sports fishing boats cost from $40,000 to $60,000, but other, much less expensive boats are available at the show, which is located at the downtown San Diego Convention Center.

For the first time, show organizers are showcasing boats and other watercraft  that can be purchased for payments of less than $250 a month.

Some of the boats featured in the shoe's "Affordability Pavilion" cost less than $8,000, fully equipped. 

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