NEWPORT BEACH — When driving down Newport Boulevard toward Lido Marina Village, the bright white finish off hundreds of yachts beckons for a closer look.
If you're up for getting a glimpse at how accommodating life on the water can be, or you have a few hundred thousand dollars to spare, the 38th annual Newport Boat Show is worth a visit.
The show opened Thursday and runs through Sunday.
From trawlers to tugboats and mega-yachts, the show is where attendees will likely find what you're looking for, even if it's boaters insurance or a new deck finish.
Dealers said the market is slowly picking up again after years in the doldrums because of the recession, and Newport Beach resident Rob Burns was one of those dipping his feet back in the water.
"I'm just trying to get my feelers out," Burns said. "I'm retired. Looking for a powerboat, maybe 45 to 55 feet. Something manageable by two people and fuel-efficient."
Burns already owns a boat, but like so many others, dealers say, he's looking for a change.
Patricia Garfield, president of Farallone Yacht Sales in Catalina, said in recent years buyers have been downsizing because of higher slip rates across the coast and the cost of fuel.
If it wasn't for selling tugboats alongside luxury yachts, she said, her business would be hurting.
"It has anything these big white boats have for $3 million, only mini," Garfield said. "It adds a dimension to boating that you don't get with a 65-footer. I've been sustained by the tugboat business."
On the other end of the spectrum are those unaffected by the recession, those who can afford something like the 78-foot Ocean Alexander yacht for $4.7 million, said Ray Prokorym, vice president of western sales for Ocean Alexander.
"It's as good an investment any anything these days," Prokorym said. "It's a smaller market and we have a good reputation."
If You Go
What: 38th annual Newport Boat Show
Where: Lido Marina Village, 3420 Via Oporto, Newport Beach
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $12 for adults, free for children 12 and younger
Information: http://www.newportinwaterboatshow.com or call (949) 757-5959 ext. 202.