With the discount rate cut yesterday it shows how concerned the Fed is about the softening economy tied to the perception of shaky credit markets. The other "huge" factor I think is going to hurt boating is the falling home values in many parts of the country where people have tied purchases to what had been growing home equity. Lenders are not sure how much boat financing was tied to home equity, but it will surely be a factor. And in terms of consumer confidence, if your largest (former) appreciating asset has been taking it in the shorts at 10% - 15% - maybe 20%, you will not be out buying discretionary items.
Not sure how the industry can respond to this, but I'd suggest it is the single largest issue facing it right now -- forget about hurricanes, lack of access, etc., etc. And I'm a generally optimistic guy!
See JoAnn Goddard's story on the