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Luxury boats get motors running at Tampa show

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 02:57 PM
TAMPA -

There are discounts to be had at the Tampa Boat Show, but on Saturday, luxury yachts were drawing more sightseers than prospective buyers.

Dozens of vessels from 36 feet to 80 feet docked behind the Tampa Convention Center are open for inspection to anyone with the dream of taking the helm of a snazzy pleasure craft.

Those coming aboard are greeted with a twist on Florida's unofficial motto about required footwear. "No shoes, food or drink," cautioned signs at the helm of exquisitely furnished yachts open to barefoot visitors.

Among the smaller luxury vessels offered: a 37-footer at $366,000. Bargain-seekers interested in a used vessel might inspect a 2007 45-foot yacht for $247,000. No mention if it comes with its 300-gallon fuel tank full.

Many attendees, such as Nancy and Rich Richards of Valrico, came to look, not ponder a purchase. "We've had two boats, so we've had enough," Rich said.

"But we enjoy seeing the new ones," Nancy added.

Another former boater, Rick Smith of Lakeland, restrained four enthusiastic young children he had in tow.

"They're a little disappointed about not being able to get on the three-quarter-of-a-million-dollar boat," he said. "They've terrorized everybody inside (other vessels) already," he said.

On an upper floor, the "Affordability Pavilion" showcases pontoon boats, fishing vessels, bow-riders and others in that size range, available for payments as low as $198 per month.

The boat show concludes today. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $12. Children 15 and younger are free with a paid adult.


gwilkens@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7124
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