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‘A Strong Finish to a Strong Year’

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Boat_registrations_Soundings Dec 2020

As new-boat registration data is tallied, the marine industry will finish 2020 a high note.

With 32 states reporting — approximately 64 percent of the U.S. boating market — new-boat registrations in December were up 12.8 percent year to date in the main powerboat categories and showed few signs of abating.

On a year-to-year basis, registrations are up 37.3 percent, according to preliminary numbers provided by Statistical Surveys, a Michigan firm that tracks new-boat registrations.

Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe said when all the numbers are in, registrations will surpass 300,000 for the year, the highest sales in the United States in the last 13 years.

“It’s a strong finish to a strong year,” Kloppe told Trade Only Today. “We’re still seeing a lot of registrations coming in.”

Warm-weather states showed strong numbers for December. Florida was No. 1, posting a near 31 percent gain, compared with December 2019, with 2,777 registrations, compared with 2,125 the previous year. The No. 2 state, Texas had 1,111 registrations, compared to 652 in 2019, a 70.4 percent increase.

North Carolina posted a 69 percent jump (to 516 from 305), and South Carolina was up 67 percent (301 to 502).

Even as inventory shortages continue, demand was up nearly across the board.

Jetboats showed year-over-year growth for December of 206 percent, with sales of 193 units, compared with 63 in the same time period the previous year. The segment is up 18.1 percent for the year. PWC sales rose 85 percent for the month to 1,601 (from 863), with year-to-date numbers up just over 4 percent.

Pontoons increased 48 percent year over year, and the segment is up 18 percent year to date. Fiberglass outboard boats are up 28 percent year over year (to 2,636 from 2,060). Aluminum fishing boats had 1,436 registrations — up from 1,124 the previous year — which is nearly 28 percent growth compared with the same month in the previous year.

Even sterndrive and inboard bowriders numbers increased, up 80 percent for the month to 199 (from 110) and just shy of 10 percent for the year.

For 2021, Kloppe expects more of the same. “Expect demand to continue into the new year,” he said.

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