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Monday, January 11, 2016

Boating Is A Family Affair

Ask any of the 500 exhibitors at the Toronto International Boat Show, and they'll tell you that the motivations for buying any boat, whether a super-yacht or a kayak, are the same. It's the love of getting out on the water and spending time with friends and family that are the primary reasons why boaters, seasoned and new, get hooked on the boating lifestyle.

There's a new generation of boat buyers that exhibitors and manufacturers have noticed over
the past five years - the emergence of the international buyer. Southeast Asia and China have become major markets for yacht manufacturers, and naturally so, with the meteoric rise of Asian multi-millionaires. According to a Bloomberg Business report (2013), the biggest regional growth in terms of the number of super-yachts delivered that year was in Asia.

Here at home, the Toronto International Boat Show has also taken notice, and for the past four years has offered a successful program of guided tours introducing Asian visitors to the world of boating, conducted by boating enthusiast and owner of Ahoy Captain Yachting Services, Charley Zhou. For the majority of Asian attendees, shopping for a boat and the factors for buying a boat all come down to family. Three common criteria that Asian boaters look for when buying boats are:

Boats for a Multi-Generational Family
Henry Nguyen, a veteran sales representative at Legend Boats says, "It is always a family affair when it comes to Asian boat buyers. Often it's baby boomer parents buying the boat, and they are accompanied by their children (usually Millennials), along with the grandparents too." Nguyen has sold more than 30 Legend boats of every size and style to Asian customers over the last six years and adds, "The whole family is in on the buying decision, but the influence of the kids is key. They have usually researched the boats online and relayed information on features and specifications to the parents." Most of all, Asian boaters, like everyone, are looking to get out on the water to enjoy time with their families. Pontoon boats are very popular with Asian buyers thanks to their versatility, value for money and entertainment factor. Pontoons are ideal for entertaining a large family, for example an average 22-ft pontoon can comfortably accommodate 14 people, but what consumers love most about pontoons is the versatility. The fun of pontoon boat shopping is the endless a-la-carte options such as customized layout, interchangeable seating, built-in features including stainless steel barbeques, wet bars, retractable sound systems - anything and everything to suit the needs and enjoyment of a multi-generational family.

Total Package Approach
Dorothy Hare, owner of Bala Cove Marine, speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese, and says that she has seen a marked increase in the number of Asian families buying boats over the last five years. "There are more and more Asian cottage owners in the Kawarthas, on Balsam Lake and Rice Lake, and renters around Muskoka over the last few years," she said. Just this past summer, Dorothy sold two cruisers and a pontoon boat to Asian buyers and found that her Asian customers prefer a 'total package' approach when buying a boat. "I make sure the whole family is fully briefed on all the features of the boat. I help them get comfortable in every aspect of operation and provide a
comprehensive maintenance and storage program for them." Pride Marine also offers a concierge approach to boating with its Pride Passport Program, a revolutionary customer care program that was introduced at the Toronto Boat Show in 2014. The Pride Passport Program takes most of the costs of boating away from customers in their first year of ownership and includes everything from inspection, maintenance, storage, service, deliveries, safety gear and more. The Program is so popular that Pride stepped up this initiative and now offers a Platinum Passport Program,good for three years.

Fun and Fishing
Boating is truly a family affair for Vince Dong. A cottage-owner on Leonard Lake in the Muskoka region, Vince has an 18-foot bowrider, three canoes, a kayak and a paddleboat - all of which are in the water and the focus of fun on behalf of his kids and their friends all summer long. A chartered professional accountant in Toronto, Vince and his wife have found that the cottage is a refuge after a very busy week in the city. "There's just nothing better than arriving at the cottage after a long work week, and heading out on the lake for a relaxing cruise," he says. "And then the next day, it's usually reserved for non-stop tubing with the kids followed by a leisurely paddle around the bay."

A successful entrepreneur in Thunder Bay, this year Ed Fukushima bought a Boston Whaler 285 Conquest with twin 225 Mercury outboards - and though he was out on the water much of this past summer, he wishes it could have been even more often. "There's never enough time, but my family and friends just love it. I have my fishing buddies and we caught some salmon and lake trout this summer. And my family has really enjoyed exploring Lake Superior, especially over by Sleeping Giant Provincial Park," Ed says. Ed has his heart set on winning a salmon derby next summer and can hardly wait!


The Toronto Boat Show
WHEN: January 8 - 17, 2016
Preview Day Friday, January 8, 2pm - 8pm
Saturdays 10am - 7pm
Sundays 10am - 6pm
Monday - Friday 11am - 8pm

WHERE: Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place
100 Princess Blvd. Toronto, ON

ACCOMMODATIONS: Hotel discounts at the official show hotels: Sheraton Centre Toronto
(416) 361-1000 and the Westin Harbour Castle (416) 869-1600.
http://www.torontoboatshow.com/show-info/hotel-discounts/

TICKETS: Preview Day: $100 Platinum ticket, $35 Gold Ticket
$20 General Admission (17 - 64 yrs.)
$17 Seniors (65 yrs. & better)
$20 Unlimited Weekday Evening Pass (4pm - 8pm)
$25 Two-day Adult Pass (17 - 64 yrs.)
$20 Two-day Senior Pass (65 yrs. & better)
FREE KIDS 16 years & under when accompanied by an adult

PHONE: 905-951-0009

WEBSITE: www.TorontoBoatShow.com

ABOUT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW
The Toronto International Boat Show is owned and produced by Canadian Boat Shows Inc. In generating more than $354 million in economic impact to the region, it remains one of the largest consumer boat shows in North America. During the last five years, the Show has annually attracted more than 500 exhibitors and 80,000 attendees. More boats are purchased at the Toronto International Boat Show than at any other place or event in Canada. About 44% of Canadians (15 million people) participate in boating and Canadians own more than 4.3 million boats. Direct revenues across Canada?s core recreational boating industry total $5 billion per year and it directly employs approximately 67,000 Canadians. (NMMA Canada - The Economic Impact of Recreational Boating In Canada; 2013.)