MONROE, MI (Toledo News Now) - Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the boating season, and figures released this week by the National Marine Manufacturers Association are encouraging. Boat sales rose 6 percent in 2011, the first time since 2006.
Experts say credit improved consumer confidence, the release of pent up demand and better interest rates.
They're expecting smooth sailing this summer at the Monroe Bolles Harbor Marina.
"Because we had a mild winter. I see it being hot and a lot of people using their boats this year. Lots of people have been anxious because of the weather so we opened up a week earlier than normal to get everybody going early" according to Zach Morrison of the Marina.
Richard Blanco says he'll be heading out on the water as much as he did last year. There's concern about fuel prices, but he has a strategy to deal with gas guzzling by his vessel.
"I work in Monroe. So if I was to go on a Friday afternoon, I take the boat. Costs me $5.00 more. Usually a couple of guys at work chip in for the gas."
Brad Larrow is heading out for his first trip of the season on Lake Erie.
If you can't get your buddies to share fuels costs, he has a recommendation to boaters:
"Get a boat with good mileage. It's not so bad."
Like the national trend, Bolles Harbor sees an increase in boat sales.
"Probably just luxury. Everyone likes being out on the lake. It's fun, good times, like buying boats."
It looks like it is safe to say the rough waters the boating industry has treaded in recent years may have calmed down.