Spring Water: Sea Ray-Scout seeks to fill void with warmer weather boat show

A mix of boats were on hand at the October boat show at Charleston Harbor Marina sponsored by Sea Ray-Scout of Charleston. The Daniel Island dealership is hosting a spring show April 27-29 (Photo provided).

By JIM PARKER The Post and Courier

Playing off record crowds at a major Charleston boat show in January, a dealer is aiming to keep up the momentum with its own event next week.

Sea Ray-Scout of Charleston is holding a Spring Boat Show and Sale April 27-29 at Charleston Harbor Marina, B Dock, in Mount Pleasant.

“Historically, there was always a Charleston spring boat show,” said Jim McClellan, general manager of the Sea Ray-Scout outlet on Daniel Island.

The show has not been held for the past few years as the boating industry sagged locally and across the country. Watercraft sales started to recover in 2011 and are more or less back to normal this year.

The 32nd annual Charleston Boat Show at North Charleston Convention Center, backed by the local boat dealers association, drew an all-time-high 11,000 people in January.

Meanwhile, local reps are reporting a sales uptick in 2012.

“We are having a great year,” McClellan said.

He said this is a good time to hold a show and sale, with the prospects of a larger, more widespread event in the future.

The general manager expects maybe 4,000 people to attend the three-day show and sale. Admission and parking are free. The dealership choose B Dock because it has four slips there already, plus it is a short walk from the marina parking lot.

The event will showcase a variety of boats from 17-foot runabouts to 60-foot yachts. The dealership intends to display at least one edition of all its brands: Sea Ray, Summerville-based Scout, Boston Whaler, Meridian and its newest line, Bennington pontoon boats.

Sales people will be on hand to make deals, and prospective buyers can make appointments for test drives. “We strongly recommend people do this,” he said. Every boat has its idiosyncracies, and piloting before buying helps the purchaser get a feel of the vessel.

Sea Ray-Scout holds a similar show at Charleston Harbor Marina in the fall. The spring event, he says, will be a little smaller but will “still have a good selection of the boats we carry.” He expects 14-18 of the dealership models for 2012 to be on display.

The spring show and sale, he said, should have a slightly different clientele from the dealership’s event in October.

“You know, this time of year, you get new boaters,” McClellan said. In the fall, shoppers tend to be existing owners looking to upgrade, fix up their boats or take advantage of sales promotions. He expects shoppers from Sea Ray-Scout parent Hall Marine Group’s five sister stores in the Upstate and Charlotte to attend the show.

While predicting a moderate turnout next weekend, McClellan believes the people who do attend will be going for a specific reason. “They are here to buy a boat.”

Purchasers are facing good prospects. “I think the biggest thing is interest rates are low,” McClellan said. The rates are 4.5-6 percent with 10-15 year terms. Meanwhile, buyers can get extended warranties of five to six years on engines. Mercury brand is offering special promotions.

“It’s been a positive year,” McClellan said. Boaters are ready “to get out on the water.”

SEA RAY SCOUT SPRING BOAT SHOW AND SALE:

•Date:• April 27 - 29, 2012 •Location:• Charleston Harbor Marina, near Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.

•Admission, parking:• Free. •Times:• noon-6 p.m. Friday, 1-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

•Contact:• Jim McClellan, general manager

•Phone:• 843-747-1889 •Email:• jim@searayofcharleston.com

•Website:• www.searayofcharleston.com

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.