LACONIA, N.H. (AP) – New Hampshire boaters will pay more to fill up their fuel tanks, but some marina owners say they don’t expect their business to suffer.

Several boat dealers around Lake Winnipesaukee said they are cautiously optimistic despite the faltering economy.

“If you saw my parking lot right now, you wouldn’t think there was any bad news,” said Roger Guilbert, manager at Channel Marine. “The funny thing is, the more expensive the boat, the faster it’s selling.”

Some boats burn up to 50 gallons of fuel an hour, but customers who can afford such high-end boats can afford the gas, said Erica Blizzard at Lakeport Landing. She said sales are down, however, not because of the economy or rising fuel prices, but because of the threat of a 45 mph speed limit on Lake Winnipesaukee. Gov. John Lynch is expected to sign a bill that would impose the speed limit starting next summer.

“Things are definitely more of a challenge for us then they have been in the past,” she said.

On a typical Memorial Day weekend, Blizzard said she takes 60 to 75 boats out of winter storage. This year, the marina is launching only 40 boats. The others are for sale and their owners are going elsewhere, she said.

“They’re getting out now, before they can’t get out,” she said.

That has led to a glut of used boats on the market. Boats sold on consignment typically account for 20 percent of the marina’s sales, but this year, they make up 50 percent of its inventory.

Information from: Concord Monitor,

AP-ES-05-24-08 1256EDT

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