Article Calls 2010 “The Year of the Boat”

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

A recent article in the Newburyport News has declared 2010 “The Year of the Boat”. The article, written by Dyke Hendrickson, points to great weather and low fuel prices as factors that helped make this season a winner in terms of boating participation on Massachusetts’s Merrimack River, despite the troubled economy. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

It’s said that the two best days for a boat owner are the day the craft is bought and the day it’s sold. The season is not over, but it appears that this is one of those summers that boaters have relished being out on the water.

Tourists, too, are showing an appreciation for an outing, as cruises, fishing trips and commercial ventures are reporting a successful season after a disappointing 2009.

Most locals say that this has been the warmest and most tranquil summer in at least a decade.

Boats, whether powered by motor or paddle, have filled Newburyport Harbor all summer. And the scores of sailing craft on the ocean off Plum Island and Salisbury Beach each day have made boat-watching a colorful spectacle, akin to a brilliant white-on-blue watercolor conjured by a modern-day Winslow Homer.

“The weather has been great, and as a result, we’ve seen an increase in boaters as it relates to registration and usage,” said Paul Hogg, harbormaster in Newburyport. “We’re up from last year, perhaps 100 registrations to about 1,300. And there are many more boaters who launch in Salisbury and at Cashman Park.

“When it comes to those who are involved commercially, such as netters, lobstermen, party boats and guys who go out for cod, haddock and even tuna, this has been a very good season.” He said that about 200 to 300 commercial craft have been operating out of the harbor this season.

Most locals say that this has been the warmest and most tranquil summer in at least a decade. The clement weather has enabled boaters to enjoy the river, harbor and ocean, and this burst of activity has helped waterfront businesses to improve upon a bleak 2009 season marked by constant rain.

“I’ve been in the business for 36 years, and this summer’s weather was the best I can remember,” said Butch Frangipane, general manager/part owner of a quartet of marinas along the river — including Newburyport Harbor Marina, Hilton’s Marina, Windward Yacht Yard and the Newburyport Boat Basin. Combined, the operation has more than 500 slips, and it has accommodations for visiting vessels of up to 200 feet.

“People who have slips here were excited, and we had a very good transient business, meaning boats were coming in from other harbors,” he said. “The fishing was good, too, with tuna only a few miles offshore. This has been a great season.”

John Guertin, who runs Yankee Landing Marina in Newburyport, said, “We’re very pleased with the season. The good weather was definitely a factor, and the feeling that the economy is improving also brought out the boaters. This was our best summer for at least three years, when the economy started getting weak.”

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