Amid gloom, reports pop up on solid boat sales

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Although recent economic discussions have centered on Europe’s woes and the possibility of a double-dip recession in the U.S., reports have been springing up nationwide about an increase in boat sales.

In the Midwest, where the economy has been slow for the last four years, reports have shown a strong spring for boat dealers.

In late May, a (Toledo) Blade story was headlined “Recreational boat dealers buoyed by rise in area sales.”

“We’re definitely seeing more sales this year — pontoons, Jet Skis, runabouts — both new and used,” Chris Rising, sales director at Devil’s Lake Water Sports in Manitou Beach, Mich., told the newspaper.

Jeff Covey, general manager of the 300-slip Great Lakes Marina in Muskegon, Mich., told Crain’s Detroit Business that after a brisk Memorial Day weekend, he anticipates the best summer he has seen in at least five years.

Steve Sloan, owner of Madisonville Marine in Tennessee, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that his sales were up 25 percent during the past 11 months.

Jim Meyer, owner of Main Marine & Ski in Racine, Wis., told the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel that this has been the strongest start to the boating season since 2007.

Although many cautioned that the sales should be kept in perspective because they were down 50 percent from pre-2008 levels, the anecdotal proof supported numbers from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which showed fiberglass boat sales increasing modestly for the first time since 2008.

Click here for the (Toledo) Blade report.

Click here for a report in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Click here for a report in the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Click here for a report at KnoxvilleBiz.com.

Look for a story reporting cautious optimism about the marine industry and the national economy in the July issue of Soundings Trade Only.

Reagan Haynes

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