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CNN Today

Atlanta Boat Show Floats Fantasies Out of Winter Cold into More Pleasant Climes

Aired January 5, 2001 - 2:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, it's the first of January. Why not a little beach music and the thoughts of boating? As I mentioned earlier, I'm still here working very hard. Lou has gone off to the Atlanta Boat Show next door to really wow you -- Lou.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Sloughing off, I think, is how you put it, Natalie. Over here amid a sea of boats at the 39th annual Atlanta Boat Show. They always do this when it's about 1 degree. They've put these fantasies in our head about boats and warm weather and palm trees. Before I left the house this morning, my wife said, don't get any ideas, and I'll try not to, as I talk with Shawn Bell, who's with Stardust Cruisers.

Now, we're on the top deck of a cruiser. My experience with houseboats has been like an outboard -- it reminded me of "Cast Away." This is the biggest monster I've ever seen. What the heck's going on here?

SHAWN BELL, STARDUST CRUISERS: Yes, here we're on top the bow. It's got a complete entertainment deck with wet bar, refrigerator, ice maker, separate grill and bar and a complete driving station.

WATERS: What we have behind us is a flat. You can dance out there.

BELL: You can dance.

WATERS: Put your band over there.

(CROSSTALK)

BELL: Put you band...

WATERS: You've the bar right here where the cameraman -- the cameraman's standing right in the middle of the bar and we have controls over here.

BELL: Yes.

WATERS: It beats that little stick that I used to use on the back of my first rented houseboat. Let's go down -- this is essentially a three-tier deal...

BELL: Yes it is.

WATERS: ... because you can live and party up here.

BELL: It's got a complete cover deck here that, you know, covers all the entertainment deck.

WATERS: Right. We can go down these stairs. Quickly, and we'll see really what is the bread and butter of this deal here. Oh, other set of controls here?

BELL: This is a complete driving station in the salon. Here you have all the furnishings of a home.

WATERS: Oh, salon. You usually refer to salons as someplace where you get your hair done. On a boat, I guess, it's a salon complete with a huge sofa, comfortable chairs over here.

BELL: It's got a full entertainment center with a build-in TV. Here you have a full galley with all full size appliances: ice maker, dishwasher, range, washer and dryer.

WATERS: No little stuff.

BELL: No little stuff.

WATERS: This is like a house away from home?

BELL: Yes, it is.

WATERS: And so you've got -- what is this? A freezer, too?

BELL: Yes, freezer, ice and water in the door. It's got it all.

WATERS: Custom cabinets?

BELL: Yes, custom cabinets

WATERS: What do you got here?

(CROSSTALK)

BELL: ... the counter tops?

WATERS: We have an ice maker.

BELL: The ice maker. Complete, we're talking about the Coring (ph) counter tops all throughout the boat.

WATERS: That's just amazing. What do we have here? What do we have for power for cooking?

BELL: It's 110, standard home-type.

WATERS: Really. So, there's a generator on board?

BELL: Yes, it's got a 20 kw generator, two 350 twin engines, MerCruiser that powers the boat. It's got hydraulic bow and stern thrusters.

WATERS: OK, how much -- I understand we can't go back down the hall. Can we get a shot for it down the hall? Down that hall and there's another deck below, apparently.

BELL: Yes, you've got four bedrooms and two full baths; two upper bedrooms and two lower bedrooms?

WATERS: Eight, 10 people stay on board here?

BELL: Ten people.

WATERS: What are we talking about for money?

BELL: It's $379.

WATERS: $379.

BELL: Yes.

WATERS: What's that a month, Shawn?

BELL: However you want to pay it.

WATERS: Who buys this kind of thing?

BELL: Just. really, anyone who wants to enjoy the water and it's a family -- you know, the family can use it. So, you know, it's for the whole family.

WATERS: Well, you know, most of our news today is about the economy and the health of the economy. I would imagine a good indicator of how healthy the economy is by the interest or the actual sales going on here at the boat show with definite luxury items like this. What can you share with us about that?

BELL: So far, the show has been great. Everyone's that's come in is typically the houseboat owners and wanting to buy a houseboat. It looks like it's going to be another great year for the houseboat manufacturers.

WATERS: What is it about houseboats? There was a time, like I said, the first houseboat I rented was just a flat deck with some bunks out back and maybe a propane stove or something. But now it's...

BELL: And there's still a lot of people that hasn't seen the boats. You know, the 2000, you know, where you've got all the accommodations of the home, you know. So, they've, you know, now, they can come in and have all of the same things they've got at home and live on the lake. We've even have some people that live aboard their boats.

WATERS: How big is this thing? Can we go over here and sit and get comfortable here on this leather couch. Holy mackerel.

BELL: In the salon, also, you have custom window treatments with wood blinds and all. It's got the fabric ceilings throughout.

WATERS: Indirect lighting.

BELL: Indirect light. It drops off. It's recess lighting.

WATERS: You could actually -- if you could float your own home, this would be -- probably be good representation of it right here.

BELL: This would be it.

WATERS: Oh, sloughing off here, Natalie. So, folks can come aboard, they can have their supper and they steer the boat. My only question -- how long is this?

BELL: 17 by 89.

WATERS: 17 by 89. Where would you put something like this? Certainly not up on Lake Lanier here in Atlanta?

BELL: Yes, Lake Lanier.

WATERS: Lake Lanier would handle it?

BELL: Yes, we've got boats all over Lake Lanier.

WATERS: Really? So, does the trailer come with it?

BELL: No, but some people would like for it to.

WATERS: No trailer.

BELL: No trailer.

WATERS: Where do most of these boats get purchased? In land- locked areas?

BELL: Pretty much. We've -- we send boats all over the United States, you know, from coast-to-coast. But we also build V-Hull boats for the innercoastal with the same furnishing on the inside, just a different hull design that you can use on innercoastal and rivers and the canals and whatever.

WATERS: OK, Shawn. Good luck with that. Natalie, it's a custom design deal. You go down, you tell them what they want. They build it for you. I think that you and I ought to get together.

ALLEN: Why not? If you want that baby, you better come back here and work some overtime. Thanks, Lou. We'll see you again.

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