Boat businesses stay afloat during rough economic times

The economy has left a ripple effect on the boating market, but dealers are determined to not let it sink sales.

Metro-east boat retailer Rob Smith just witnessed low turnouts at recent boat shows in Belleville and St. Louis. But he said most of those who turned out were buyers.

"Boat show attendance was way down," said Smith, co-owner of Dupo Marine Center. "We were at the St. Louis show Wednesday through Sunday, and the best day we had was Saturday. On the other days, traffic was the worst we've seen in over 20 years. I've never seen traffic as bad as it was. Traffic was down, but those walking through were buying. It goes both ways. At least the people who were there were buying."

Read the complete story at