Boat registrations up in September

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Boat registrations were up more than 12 percent in the main categories year-over-year, and down 4.4 percent year-to-date.

Overall registrations were up 12.8 percent year-over-year and down 2.8 percent year-to-date, according to preliminary data from 25 states, provided by Statistical Surveys, comprising around 52 percent of the U.S. boat market.

Outboard-powered fiberglass boat registrations were up more than 20 percent year-over-year and down 2.7 percent for the year thus far.

That number could rise after Florida — accounting for about 13 percent of U.S. boat sales — is included, said Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe. Typically an early-reporting state, Florida has struggled for much of this year to provide timely registration data.

Ski and wake boats were up 18.1 percent year-over-year and 3.9 percent year-to-date. Pontoons rose 16.2 percent over September 2018.

Aluminum fishing boats also saw positive momentum, rising 3.5 percent for the month compared with September 2018, though still down 9.6 percent year-to-date.

Personal watercraft had another strong month, rising 23.4 percent compared to September 2018 and up 4.5 percent for the year.

“We’re seeing results of more of a late season this year, with June being a slow start in boat sales and weather,” Kloppe told Trade Only Today. “June was not great, July and August were pretty decent weather-wise, and I think you’re seeing those results here with the monthly data in those 25 states. The whole season shifted back a month.”

With a strong close to the fourth quarter, the industry is tracking to be off 2 or 3 percent versus last year. “But that could swing back to 0 if we get Florida and Florida is up,” Kloppe noted.