Southern, Western states boost November boat sales

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Helped by strong sales in California, Louisiana and Georgia, sales of new recreational boats rose 6 percent industrywide in November.

Sales in 30 early-reporting states that represent about 55 percent of the U.S. market climbed by 323, to 5,684, from 5,361 in the same month last year, Statistical Surveys reported.

“It’s a good, strong finish, albeit it’s November,” said Ryan Kloppe, sales director at Statistical Surveys. “You’ll probably see [similar] numbers for December.”

November is typically the second-slowest month of the year, after December. Kloppe said Southern and Western states typically carry the industry at this time of year.

Sales are up 3.9 percent, at 256,515, for the year through November in the early-reporting states, which is just 2,364 less than the 258,879 that were sold nationwide in all of 2016. Kloppe said he expects the industry to finish the year with sales that are 4 to 4.5 percent higher than in 2016.

The data represent 30 states — approximately 55 percent of the U.S. boat market. Coast Guard (Documented Vessels) information is complete.
 If you have any questions, please contact Statistical Surveys Inc. Phone: (616) 281-9898 Website: www.statisticalsurveys.com

The data represent 30 states — approximately 55 percent of the U.S. boat market. Coast Guard (Documented Vessels) information is complete.  If you have any questions, please contact Statistical Surveys Inc. Phone: (616) 281-9898 Website: www.statisticalsurveys.com

California sales climbed the most, rising 69.9 percent, or 146 boats, to 355.

“That’s a significant increase,” Kloppe said. “Texas continues to grow. Even Michigan is [in the top 10].”

Sales in Georgia rose 31.6 percent, or 67, to 279, and Louisiana sales rose 11.2 percent, or 40, to 397.

Sales in Florida, which led the nation as it usually does, edged higher by eight boats, or 0.4 percent, to 1,833, as the state continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma.

Eight of the top 10 states for sales recorded more in November this year than they did last year.

After Florida, Texas ranked second with sales of 830 boats, up 18, or 2.2 percent, from last year. The rest of the top 10 were Louisiana; California; North Carolina, at 334 (up 1.2 percent from 330); Georgia; Alabama, at 227 (down 3.8 percent from 236); Michigan, at 220 (up 10.6 percent from 199); Arkansas, at 152 (down 23.2 percent from 198); and Washington, at 150 (up 20 percent from 125).

Sales in the main powerboat segments rose 7.7 percent in November, or 304 boats, to 4,252, led by sales of 2,016 outboard-powered fiberglass boats. The total was 101, or 5.3 percent higher, than in the same month a year earlier.

Sales of aluminum fishing boats rose 8 percent, or 90, to 1,187.

On a percentage basis, sales of pontoon boats and ski and wake boats each rose 21 percent. Pontoon sales climbed by 108, to 621, and ski-and-wake sales rose by 30, to 175. Pontoon sales totaled 50,636, through November — up 7.4 percent — in the early-reporting states.

Sales of 14- to 30-foot inboard- and sterndrive-powered boats fell by five, or 3.1 percent, to 155, in November, and they are down 4.9 percent, at 10,500, through November in the early-reporting states.

Outside the main segments, sales of personal watercraft climbed by 40, or 6.5 percent, to 651. PWC sales have risen to 60,686 in the early-reporting states through November.

The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports of documented vessels, providing complete figures in the bigger-boat categories. Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers rose by four, to 44, but sales of 41- to 65-foot yachts fell by 19, to 47, and sales of 66-foot and larger custom and semicustom yachts fell by five, to seven.

Sales of jetboats rose by four, to 74. Sailboat sales fell by six, to 76.

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue.

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