One of the biggest yacht sales events in the U.S., the Newport show in Rhode Island, last weekend showcased boats of all sizes -- from small dinghies to mega-yachts 100 feet and longer -- made by manufacturers from around the globe.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, sales of new boats reached $15.1 billion in 2006, a 3 percent increase from the year prior. However, preliminary numbers for 2007 indicate a 10 percent decline in new boat purchases under 60 feet.
Mike McDonald, general manager of Zecco Marine in Wareham, Mass., said that for the most part, "those who are capable of spending (on a yacht) are not caught up in the downturn of the housing crisis." Still, some of McDonald's clients have delayed yacht purchases in order to use their capital to invest in real estate deals.
One of the most talked about mega-yacht's on display this year was the $3.9 million, 116-foot "Margaux," offered by International Yacht Collection. It features a full beam master stateroom with a king bed and a spacious his-and-her en suite divided by a generously sized Jacuzzi. The main salon featured in the vessel features a surround sound theater system with spacious windows.
"The backlog in the mega-yacht industry is at an all-time high," said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. "People are even paying premiums to get other peoples' build slot so they don't have to wait for their yachts. "
The next chance for potential buyers to check out mega-yachts will be at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat show in October.