The recreational marine industry’s 2016 story remains a page turner and it’s getting better.
The industry’s up-and-down year turned up sharply in August as boat sales surged 12.5 percent in the main powerboat segments to 10,292 and 11.8 percent industrywide to 17,411 in 25 states that represent about 62 percent of the U.S. market, Statistical Surveys said.
The results marked a turnaround from a disappointing July, when sales fell 7 percent in the main segments and 5.7 percent industrywide.
“Every segment is showing great signs of life,” Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe said. “I think July was just a hiccup. Eight of the top 10 states showed positive growth.”
All of the industry’s high-volume segments grew by double digits during a warm August that Kloppe said featured good weather in most parts of the country.
“This is really positive for the selling season that we’re still seeing double-digit growth,” he said.
The strong August pushed the sales gain for the year to 5.2 percent in the main segments and 4.9 percent industrywide, closer to industry forecasts of a 6 percent increase or better this year.
Sales of aluminum fishing boats rose by 19.5 percent for the month to 2,352 boats. Kloppe said the top 10 selling states this month included not only prime fishing states Florida and Texas, but also California and North and South Carolina.
Sales of 11- to 50-foot fiberglass outboards, the highest-volume category among the main segments, rose 10.3 percent to 3,481. Sales of aluminum pontoon boats, one of the industry’s strongest categories since the Great Recession ended, climbed 12.2 percent to 2,797.
PWC sales rose 12.8 percent, to 5,343, sales of ski and wake boats rose 26 percent to 689 and jetboat sales gained 14.9 percent to 378.
Florida led all states in sales with 2,804, followed by Texas at 2,434, California at 1,576, Michigan at 1,410 and South Carolina at 1,144. The rest of the top 10 were North Carolina at 967, New York at 821, Tennessee at 752, Washington at 603 and Alabama at 561.
Kloppe said sales were higher for the month in 16 of the 25 early-reporting states.
The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports on documented vessels, providing complete figures in the bigger-boat categories. Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers rose by 15 to 97. Sales of 41- to 65-foot yachts rose by six to 63 and sales of 66-foot and larger semicustom and custom yachts were flat at 13.
Sailboat sales rose by four to 148.
This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue.