IBEX 2009: Boating trending toward a turnaround?

Author:
Updated:
Original:

MIAMI BEACH - There's no doubt it's been a very difficult 12 to 18 months in the boating business, but there's evidence suggesting the industry is poised for a comeback.

That was the message this morning from National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich at the IBEX industry breakfast and awards presentation.

A recent Discover Boating advertising contest asked boaters for their photos and videos showing what they love about their pastime. The NMMA expected about 40 entries; it received around 400.

Dammrich played four of the winning videos this morning, all of which show boaters having fun and spending quality time with friends and family on the water. Participation in boating peaked in 1997, he said, with about 32 percent of the adult U.S. population saying they had been on a boat.

Since Discover Boating was launched in 2006, participation rates have started climbing again and were back at about 32 percent in 2008. And once people get on the water and enjoy the boating lifestyle, Dammrich noted, they are more likely to buy a boat.

There are other signs the industry will soon begin to see a turnaround.

Boat sales tend to follow consumer confidence, which has been declining. However, Dammrich said he expects that will begin to rise by the end of the year.

"When that turns positive, historically, boat sales turn positive," he said.

Other good news cited was the bottoming of the housing market and signs of growth in the RV industry.

About 135,000 new boats will be sold this year, Dammrich said. That number should remain relatively flat or increase slightly in 2010, but by 2011 he predicts 150,000 to 175,000 new boats will be sold.

Also, while around 52,000 new units will be built this year, that number should climb to 135,000 in 2010 as inventory levels continue to drop.

There are "green shoots" in the industry and overall economy, Dammrich said. The boating business is beginning to come back to life.

— Beth Rosenberg

b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

Related

Yamaha Rightwaters To Launch Trash Interceptor

Developed in conjunction with the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, the device is designed to remove debris from waterways before it reaches the ocean.

Vessel Vanguard Releases Latest Management Platforms

The company upgraded the features, functionality and security of its suite of maintenance management programs.

Cox Marine Appoints COO

Gavin Wesson will oversee the continued development of the company’s diesel outboard.

Netherlands Eases Covid Measures as Metstrade Approaches

The moves by the Dutch government open up travel prior to the show, which is scheduled for Nov. 16-18 at RAI Amsterdam.

Coming to America

Swedish electric boat builder X Shore has established a North American sales office in Newport, R.I.

Registration Opens for ABYC Standards Week

Scheduled for Jan. 10-14, the conference includes sessions to review current and new standards, the group’s annual meeting and the Marine Law Symposium.

New Initiatives To Push Boating Safety

The Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Discover Boating are promoting on-water safety, one in a digital format and and one analog.