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Saturday, February 3, 2018

It's Time to Think About Boating Again

Josh Cottrell Captains a Scout 300LXF

Hamlin's Marine and Puffin Boat Co has been busy digging out and preparing for our first show of the year in Boston, The New England Boat Show.  The show runs from February 10th through the 18th and features one of the largest indoor displays of new power boats and sailboats in the world.

Early reports from the New York Boat Show reflect record breaking sales due to increased consumer confidence and a booming economy.  More families are moving forward to purchase new boats meaning that more people will be having more fun on the water this year.

A growing economy will mean new boaters will be in the market once again.  The joy of being on the water isn't easily described.  Boating lends a feeling of freedom and fulfils a sense of adventure. 

When I look back to 2004 when I first started in the business, I remember the same climate of optimism from our customers.  Many young people and growing families sought the adventure and freedom of boating.  The satisfaction of introducing people to our world of boating was so much fun!

Cutwater 28 at the World's Largest Rendezvous
For the last ten years, the boating industry has been through a cycle of extremes.  For many years manufacturers and dealers went into survival mode.  Manufacturers struggled to keep their doors open while dealers squeaked out a living serving their base of seasoned, life-long boaters.  Nothing stands between a life-long boater and getting on the water...not even a sluggish economy.

Edendriver at the Tampa Bay Boat Show
But over the last couple years, our industry has come roaring back.  Manufacturers are building larger and more feature-rich boats once again.  Boat engines have shifted from heavy, maintenance hogs, to lighter and more efficient outboards.  Pontoon manufacturers have lost the stigma of just being grandpa's boat, and they are delivering luxury and performance that rivals any fiberglass alternative.

Chris Duffy and Josh Cottrell Visit Chris-Craft in Sarasota, FL
Here is a sample of innovations and highlights from each of our brands:
  • Bennington Pontoons: As the world's #1 pontoon manufacturer, Bennington must provide the best experience for the customer when it comes to quality and value.  This year, Bennington will build over 12,000 boats.  As usual, Bennington has been innovating with new floor plans.  Currently, the Swing Back option on many models continues to be a hit because it provides versatility, comfort, and space saving design.  Couple that with the Simtex upholstery providing the durability of vinyl and the feel of fabric, and the owner experiences next level comfort.  Another big update:  Bennington will continue to offer seat covers for the upholstery as an alternative to a large mooring cover which saves about 1/2 hour of installation at the end of a day on the water.  
  • Stingray Deckboats: The release of the 236 CC as a larger center console deck boat should prove a versatile family boat that fishes with the best of them.
  • Alumacraft Fishing Boats:  Since exiting Polarkraft a couple of years ago, Hamlin's Marine has been building our relationship with Alumacraft.  Last summer, my family attended the Alumacraft dealer meeting in Minnesota, and we managed to negotiate huge discounts to pass on to Maine fishing fanatics.  You no longer have to settle for lower quality on a "No Haggle, No Hassle" gimmick...you can now buy a 2018 Alumacraft 165 Classic Sport (Full Windshield) well equipped with a Yamaha F50, trailer, and full enclosure for only $18,242!
  • Mastercraft Tow Boats: Mastercraft just won an NMMA Innovation award for the new DockStar Handling System.  If you have ever captained a straight inboard V8, you've experienced the exhilaration of carving tight turns with seemingly unlimited power.  That's cool!  What isn't cool is crashing into docks and looking like a stooge at the ramp at low speed.  DockStar now allows you to handle a Mastercraft at low speeds without having to grow up in a Lobstering community.  
  • Cutwater Cruising Boats:  This West Coast builder has made affordable full-featured, ocean cruising possible.  Experience the true adventure of island hopping and long distance travel by water without being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  The new 302 Coupe with twin Yamaha 300s is in such huge demand, that it's nearly impossible to see one without placing an order a year in advance or travelling to Seattle.  Hamlin's has finally landed one in inventory, and we will be showcasing it at the Boston Boat Show.  Do not let this one get away!
  • Scout Boats:  Hamlin's Marine has a boat building company that builds the Scout 151 in Hampden, Maine.  The Scout 151 is available in three different layouts, with fishing and watersports options.  Build one online and see how affordable the best can be!
  • Chris-Craft:  New to Hamlin's but on the water since 1874, Chris-Craft allows us to serve a new market of boaters that simply want to have the best boat on the lake.  Hamlin's Marine will be serving the New England Market at the Boston Boat Show.  Our showcase will include a 21 Carina and a 30 Calypso.
  • Edendriver:  Built at Hamlin's Marine, the Edendriver is now showing up all over the country.  This year, we will be releasing side console models in addition to the popular center console model.  
Chris Duffy and our Scout 151 Dealer in Lake Placid, NY
All of us at Hamlin's are looking forward to seeing you on the water this spring!  Come see us in our showrooms and at the boat shows!

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