CREATED Jan. 16, 2013 - UPDATED: Jan. 16, 2013
FT. MYERS, Fla. - During the recession, the boating industry in Southwest Florida was on rough waters. But the marine market is starting to change course.
Four In Your Corner's Colleen Hogan is talking to the experts at Bass Pro Shops.
No doubt about it, the water is where you wanna be.
At Bass Pro Shops in Ft. Myers, you can get just about any kind of vessel: salt-water, fresh-water, in-shore, deep water, and of course, the party barge.
"There's nothing better than sitting on a couch on a boat and spending time with the family," Bass Pro Shops general manager Chuck Stevens said.
But for many of us, a new boat is a big-ticket item. Certainly, a luxury.
Despite the cost, Stevens says 2012 was a banner year for boat sales.
"Are people still buying boats in this economy?" Hogan asked Stevens.
"We had our best year we ever had last year," he said. "It's coming back. We've seen the boating lifestyle start to come back to Southwest Florida."
He says in-shore boats and pontoon sales are soaring, pointing to this past Christmas season, where the boats sold like crazy.
Starting this weekend, the store is hosting their 'Great American Boat Show,' where they'll lure people in with deals and promotions.
Business is going so well for the chain, they're getting ready to open several new stores in Florida.
If you're interested, well-known fisherman Jimmy Houston will be at the Ft. Myers store Sunday, January 27.
Colleen Hogan, reporter