Boat Show Goes On Despite Economic Low Tide

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The 32nd Annual Lido Yacht Expo is underway at the Lido Marina Village, and the show is a major Southern California boat show geared towards big boats and the related equipment.  This year during these difficult economic times there will be more than 250 boats on display in the temporary expanded marina with additional docks and lagoons.

As I mentioned in my column last week, events such as this boat show are a huge economic boost for the Newport Harbor economy.  Many boat shows across the nation have dried up or scaled back to smaller shows, however, the Lido Yacht Expo has weathered the storm and the show’s producer, Duncan McIntosh, has done a great job of maintaining this high-quality boat show.

If you are in the market for a boat then you have a wide selection of new and used, I mean pre-owned, boats.  There is a high inventory of used and repossessed boats that some banks and finance companies are selling at cost to clear their books.  The law of unintended consequences comes into play because these low prices are great for the buyers, but hurt the local boat brokers and salespeople by bypassing the traditional boat buying process.  Especially in the trailer boat market, the buyers will not visit the boat dealership, but purchase directly from the finance company.  However, I am always looking for a silver lining, so maybe the new buyers will bring the boats to the dealerships for service and the new boat owners will pick up a few accessories.

Large-boat sales in Southern California area still behind other parts of the nation, but California has other factors affecting boat sales such as the higher sales tax, higher unemployment, and home prices dropping to the point that homeowners cannot pull an equity loan to buy a boat.  It is anyone’s guess when the economy will rebound, as I thought this summer would have been the turning point back to prosperity.  Boating remains a popular recreational activity, but families have tightened the purse strings to wait out this economic storm.

Back to the show – the boat show is open today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday) from 10 am to 7 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.  The tickets are $12 with kids 12 and under free, plus you can get free parking too if you know the secret.

The secret is that I highly recommend that you use the free parking and free shuttle service to see the Expo.  Today, Friday, you can park at the Newport Harbor Lutheran Church on Dover Drive, and then this weekend at the Hoag Health Center on Superior Avenue.  The shuttle service is on a 20 minute schedule, but do not miss the last shuttle of the evening, at 7:30 pm (7 pm on Sunday) or you will have to walk back to your car.

Tip of the week is that many of you are curious as to who picks the names for tropical cyclones.  First, a tropical cyclone is the classification given to storm systems that are whirling counter clockwise producing winds and rain from the low pressure systems that feed off the moist warm waters.  Tropical is termed from the area on the globe where most of these storms develop, and cyclone is from the whirling winds.  Now before you start sending me emails about the wind direction, let me clarify that the winds will circle counter clockwise above the equator and clockwise below the equator.

Well, in a dark, secret room at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, which is an agency of the United Nations, members most likely wearing dark robs with large beads around their necks gather to assemble the list of names.  Actually, they update the six annual lists that repeat after the sixth year.  The names are in alphabetical order beginning with a name that starts with “A” then “B” – you get the drift.  The original lists used only women’s names, and men’s names were included in 1979, and a name is given to a tropical cyclone when the wind speed hits 34 knots.

Names are retired if a storm of that name is deadly or causes heavy damage, such as Camille.  Then the secret society has to don their robs and convene to decide upon a replacement name.  Now you know more than you probably wanted to.

And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time.  Join Chandler Bell, Kristin Hamilton, and me as we talk about “all things boating,” and news reporter Matt Prichard will be returning this Saturday.  You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, iTouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at or

Until next week, Safe Voyages!


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