Pontoons popular at annual boat show

April 2010 News

CLAYTON - If it floats, it's at the 39th annual Thousand Islands Spring Boat Show, including Alan Jackson's 1942 Chris-Craft racing runabout.

"Mr. Jackson is upgrading his collection," said Dennis H. Honeywell, a broker for Antique Boat America. "The boat is selling for $99,000, but we'd be willing to negotiate."

Pontoons, too, piqued visitor interest at the Clayton Recreation Park arena. A pontoon typically can carry 12 to 14 people comfortably, said J.R. Kelley, a manager for Chalk's Marina and Boat Sales, Fishers Landing.

"Pontoons are very popular because they are comfortable and they are very family-oriented," he said. "They've come a long way from what they once were. You can get them with all sorts of amenities."

Some of the luxury add-ons include small grills and refrigerators, wine racks and even space for a child's playpen.

William J. Lyness and his daughter, Laura M., 14, of Alexandria Bay, were checking them out.

"We own about five," Mr. Lyness said. "Pontoons aren't just a flat barge anymore. They are becoming more yacht-like."

Laura said she enjoyed seeing the variety of boats on display.

"I like the pontoon boats," she said. "But I'm really liking some of the Jet Skis."

Different makes and models ranging in price from just under $9,000 to more than $20,000 were available for imaginary test drives.

"We can pretend we are really riding on them," said Sarah M. Wilder, 9, Copenhagen. "Or me and my friend pretend we are on bumper cars. The seats are really comfy."

Sarah and her friend Nicole K. Evans, 10, Redwood, ran back and forth between the jet skis and boats, climbing aboard each one.

"It's really fun to sit on all the boats and try them out," Sarah said. "Then we beg our fathers to buy one, but he usually says no because of the price."

The boat show, sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, will continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for children.

"It's kind of an official kickoff of the Thousand Islands boating season," said Allen S. Benas, a member of the chamber's board of directors.

Chamber Administrative Assistant Kim M. Johnston said, "People come back year after year. I think they really look forward to coming to the event and seeing what's new."


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