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Boaters Preparing for Long Weekend

Boaters Preparing for Long Weekend

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingRising water on Utah's lakes and reservoirs has meant rising sales for Utah boat dealers, and with Memorial Day weekend ahead, a lot of people are looking to have some fun on the water.

Matt Meservey plans to fish this weekend on his boat.

Matt Meservey: "We have so much water in the reservoirs now, there's a lot more places to put in and get out, so I think it will be a great year."

Many boaters share that optimism and that's meant increased sales at boat supply stores like West Marine.

Seth Drew, Asst. Store Mngr., West Marine: "Since last week to two weeks, we have at least doubled and the trend is going up more. As it gets warm out there, people are getting excited, getting ready to go and have fun."

Local boat dealers are coming out of a drought of their own. The state's largest dealer, Peterson Marine, is selling to first time buyers as well as folks coming in for the big boats.

Ty Martinez, Gen Mngr. Peterson Marine: "Over last year we are up about 20 percent, 20 to 22 percent. And we are selling on average between the two stores, probably somewhere around 15 to 18 boats a week, which is a nice feeling."

And boat service departments are busy too. At Beckstrands they have more than 30 boats in the parking lots waiting to be summarized before Memorial Day weekend.

Jerry Greaves, Beckstrands Marine Sales and Service: "They are coming in early and staying late and we are trying to get as many people out on the water as we can for Memorial Day."

There was a 30-minute wait this afternoon at the DMV, many people trying to renew boat and RV's before the holiday. But officials say 65% of those waiting could stay home and renew online instead.

Jodi Monaco, DMV: "You can print a temporary permit right from your own computer and that will get you through the weekend. And in three to five days you'll have that decal, but you'll be perfectly legal and you can get right out on the water."

And out on the water is exactly where most boaters plan to be this weekend.

The Division of Motor Vehicles reports that licensing of boats is up 12% over last year at this time --- another sure sign that the drought's end means more boaters will be out on the water.

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