As reported yesterday in Trade Only Today, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas announced a Certified Pre-Owned Boat Program to the hundreds of dealers attending the opening of Dealer Week in Austin, Texas, and the timing could not be more apropos.
There’s a growing expectation among many industry leaders that we’ll see the pandemic-driven sales boom lose steam in the new year. Bill Yeargin, CEO of Correct Craft and author of Education of a CEO called it out: “The current season we are enjoying is going to end; that is a certainty.”
And it won’t be because everyone has gotten vaccinated or Covid-19 disappears. It will be because the stiff competition for the recreational dollar that dealers normally face has returned to the marketplace. And looming in the background of any sales decline are the thousands of boats we’ve sold to newbies during the pandemic. A large portion of them will likely be back on the used-boat market next year and in the years following.
According to MRAA reports, the preowned boat market is valued at about $10 billion. The majority of those sales are individual to individual. And to the point, studies reveal the majority of new boaters enter the sport by purchasing a used boat, and about 45 percent will exit the sport in less than five years.
It’s not hard to speculate that since dealers sold thousands of new boats to newcomers during the pandemic, a significant percentage of those boats will begin hitting the used market as those owners opt to spend their recreational dollars on other pursuits. In sufficient numbers, those low-hour used boats sold by owners seem certain to give dealers competitive heartburn.
To counter, participating dealers in the new Certified Pre-Owned Boat Program could have a sales advantage. The program has been in development for two years, with MRAA working with Titan Certified in Washington and Boat History Report in Florida.
Titan Certified has developed, for all industries, the capability to economically certify that a vehicle complies with ASTM/OEM standards. Titan is the founder of used vehicle lab testing for the automotive industry, with more than 800,000 vehicles tested in the United States and some 20,000 internationally. Titan’s programs are the only ones in the United States and Canada that precisely determine the “real time” internal condition of an engine and transmission.
Adding to the certification process, Boat History Report is the leading provider of boat background data and information. Founded in 2005, Boat History Report has amassed more than 120 million unique records and more than 1.4 million significant negative events. On average, Boat History Report finds that 1 in 17 used boats has a significant negative event in its history.
While the program was developed by MRAA, it will be open to all marine dealers. Attendees at Dealer Week are getting the first look, but more information can also be found here.