Miami boat show opens

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MIAMI BEACH - The 70th annual Miami International Boat Show opened Thursday on a high note, with expectations that the boating industry will see improvements in 2011 and that the dark days are behind it.

"We have been here before and we have come out of it," Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, reminded the group gathered for the State of the Industry breakfast prior to the start of the show.

Although the industry might not see huge growth this year, we should see a "fairly strong resurgence," he added.

Sales of new boats dropped during the recession, but participation in boating has remained high. More than 66 million people were involved last year.

"We have a huge installed base that really is one of the great strengths of our industry," Dammrich said. Boating, he added, is a more-than-$30 billion industry.