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Report finds recreational boating traffic flat

The summer of the great economic downturn continues to have an effect on recreational boating, says the nation's largest recreational boat owners group. On-the-water boat towing and ungrounding services provided to members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) were up 8 percent at the midsummer mark, when compared to 2008.

"Boaters have less money in their wallets this year, which translates to fewer outings, less maintenance, and an increase in calls for on-the-water assistance," said BoatU.S. Towing Service Vice President Jerry Cardarelli. The Association's BoatU.S. Towing Service operates a fleet of 600 TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist towing vessels across the country.

Good weather and lower gas prices, which typically lead to an increase in overall boating traffic, have been offset by the recession. "Except for the Northeast, weather has generally been good, and fuel prices remain around $3.50 per gallon at the fuel dock, down about a dollar or so from last summer's highs. But the economy has been a bigger factor," added Cardarelli.