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Jo Trizila
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As summer begins and with the DFW Boat Expo a few weeks away, Plano father John St. Clair remembers his father introducing him to the boating lifestyle one summer in the early 1970s. Now he has passed the tradition of the boating lifestyle to his twin 14-year-old sons.

St. Clair recalls, “Back then, my father did not own a boat, so he borrowed a friend’s 1963 16’ Lone Star runabout, and we would go to Lake Dallas after he got home from work. We would fish, ski and enjoy eating our dinner on the water. After that summer and us trailering the boat up to Lake Texoma, my dad’s friend saw that we, Dad and son, were hooked and decided to permanently loan it to us.”

“I’ve now raised my 14-year-old twin boys on the water. I’ve been able to teach them the importance of safety and responsibility while still doing an activity where we have the same special time that my father and I had. Even if that means, as a captain, endless circling while teaching them how to water ski!”

The family now keeps their SeaRay boats at Lake Texoma’s Highport Marina, and even the purchase through Marine Max, where St. Clair worked as a teenager cleaning boats, was a family affair.

“All of us took a test ride or two prior to any purchase. This made a big difference, and it allowed us to customize the boat prior to manufacturing. We eliminated several options and added others. Our boats are unique to us, and that feels good.”

The white male Baby Boomer has been the core of the boating industry for decades, buying millions of boats, engines and accessories. However, it is becoming increasingly important for the boating industry to create younger boating enthusiasts.

This year, the Millennial generation (born roughly between 1981 and 1997) will surpass Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) as the largest living generation, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. By the end of 2015, there will be an estimated 75.3 million Millennials compared to 74.9 million Boomers.

In a recent boating industry survey, 65 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat concerned about the aging population of boat buyers; only 5 percent were not concerned at all.

The 2015 DFW Summer Boat Expo, features more than 450 boat and watercraft models from over 20 North Texas boat dealers.

Visit the expo at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75207. Parking is free. Dates and hours are:

Friday, July 10, 3 – 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m – 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 12, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, July 17, 3 – 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 18, 10 a.m – 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 19, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tickets for the show are only available at the door:
          $12 Adults
          $6 Children (ages 5 – 13)
          Free (Children under 5)

Free admission for all on Friday July 10th and Friday July 17th.

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