New boat sales posted significant declines in the first quarter of 2008, according to Statistical Surveys. The information is based on registration data from 46 states, representing 96 percent of the U.S. boat market.
“New boat sales for the quarter reflect the combined impact of a sluggish economy, tighter credit policies due to the mortgage write-downs, record fuel prices and wild weather patterns,” Aarn Rosen, national marine sales manager for Statistical Surveys, told Soundings Trade Only.
Total aluminum sales fared slightly better than fiberglass.
The fiberglass market for all lengths was down 22.1 percent on 30,285 units for the quarter, down from 38,887 units.
Aluminum sales fell by 17.5 percent in the quarter. Unit volume fell from 22,699 to 18,738 units.
Ski boat sales dropped 20 percent on sales of 1,336 units. Pontoon sales declined 19.5 percent on 4,312 units.
Deck boat sales were down 29.7 percent on sales of 1,515 units, down from 2,156 units. This was one of the hardest-hit categories for the period, Rosen said.
Sales in the PWC market also posted steep declines on 6,008 units, showing a 20.7 percent decrease in the quarter.
Jet boat sales dropped 31.8 percent on 620 units, down from 909 units.