The “new rich,” including managers of information technology enterprises and successful stock investors, not to mention baby boomers, are turning their attention to cabin cruisers with luxurious salons and staterooms.

Not missing a business opportunity, boat builders are pushing sales of posh new cruisers.

Three years ago, a man in his early 30s who runs an IT company visited a sailboard store in Yokohama’s Kanazawa Ward along Tokyo Bay. After trying one out, he took a test run in a cabin cruiser.

While still on board, he decided to buy the vessel and immediately plunked down more than 100 million yen.

A salesman at the store said that over the last few years there has been a conspicuous increase in young business managers who come in and buy cruisers ranging from 50 million yen to 200 million yen without batting an eyelash.

Power boat buyers are not limited to the wealthy. Baby boomers with large inheritances or retirement allowances are also shelling out for cruisers, many opting for those in the 20 million yen range, looking to go fishing and have onboard parties, the salesman said.

“I have yearned for a cruiser since my youth. I went ahead and took the plunge now that I have enough time and money,” one buyer said.

According to the Japan Boating Industry Association, shipments of small motor boats in 2006 decreased for the second straight year, but 159 power boats exceeding 10 meters were sold in 2006, an increase of 56 percent over 2005.

To meet growth in demand for cruisers, manufacturers are marketing new models. Yamaha Motor Co., the largest domestic producer, debuted the Yamaha 32 Convertible last June with a price tag of more than 30 million yen.

Toyota Motor Corp. is marketing the PONAM-45 priced at the 120 million yen level. Yanmar Marine System Co. of Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, is offering the AZUL415 Convertible for around 70 million yen level, and Nissan Marine Co. unveiled the 40 million yen N34 Convertible at a boat show in March.

Convertible-style cruisers are also known as sport-fishing boats, many of which boast fly-bridges for elevated steering positions and for fish spotting.

To woo buyers, Yamaha Boating System Co. of Yokohama, a subsidiary of Yamaha Motor, will hold an exhibition of high-performance cars and boats in June jointly with the general agent of Italy’s Ferrari and other luxury vehicles.

Akihiko Tobinai, president of Yamaha Boating System, said because of their prices, cruisers do not sell in large quantities but have a high profit margin. He said competition is expected to heat up with the arrival of summer.

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