April registrations up 2.7 percent

Publish date:

Pontoons, ski and wake boats, and personal watercraft led boat registrations in April once again, with each posting solid gains of 10 percent, 8.1 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively.

Year-over-year growth was 0.4 percent in the main powerboat categories, and -3.8 percent year-to-date, according to preliminary data from Statistical Surveys Inc., a Michigan firm that gathered data from 30 states representing more than 60 percent of the U.S. boat market.

That was on top of a solid comparison last April, when the main powerboat categories were up 4 percent year-over-year, SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today.

“There’s some good segment growth and hopefully this will give us a little lift until the weather gets nice and we come into the big selling months,” said Kloppe. “They’re here.”

PWCs saw a 14.7 percent jump in registrations, breaking 5,000 sold for the month.

Offsetting strong gains in pontoons, outboard fiberglass (2.6 percent) and tow boats was a 10.5 percent decline in aluminum fishing boats, perhaps due to bad weather around parts of the country that has included flooding, tornadoes and chilly rain.

“The aluminum fish [decline] was interesting,” said Kloppe. “The majority of those are sold in the north, and the weather has obviously not been ideal for the kickoff of the marine season.”

Cruisers and yachts, though small in numbers, declined sharply. Registrations for yachts 41 to 65 feet was almost half, from 82 yachts last year to 42 this year.

Florida led states for registrations with 3,880, down from 3,988 in April 2018. The following four states — Texas (2,723), Michigan (2,190), North Carolina (1,441) and Alabama (1,167) — all saw gains.

Despite unfavorable weather, retail trends accelerated through April, wrote Wells Fargo senior analyst Tim Conder, who pointed out that these months account for only 31 percent of annual sales.

“Wholesale channel inventories appear to have seasonally peaked at the end of March … with aging at historical lows, but year-over-year turns [are] slightly lower,” wrote Conder. “Channel inventories are currently NOT an issue, but MUST be actively managed through the key second-quarter, summer retail season to avoid materially elevating the risk of an issue during the off-season heading into 2020.”


Registration for Outdoors Conference Opens

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s June 1-2 virtual conference will include speakers and presenters from government agencies and ORR member partners.

Yamaha Sees Double-Digit Growth in Q1

The marine segment was up 7.4 percent, driven by demand for outboards in North America and Europe but tempered by supply-chain logistics.

Orion Announces SafetyPro Training

The factory-authorized courses are designed “to educate retail associates on how to match a boater’s type of boating with the different signal kits that we offer.”

A Truce on Tariffs?

The E.U. will suspend the June 1 increase of its retaliatory tariffs and agreed to negotiate with the U.S. to end steel and aluminum tariffs.

Argos 3D Forward Looking Sonar

For 20 Years, FarSounder has been developing and manufacturing 3D forward-looking sonar for vessels of all sizes.

Dometic Marine Appoints Executives

The company promotes a 20-plus-year employee and adds a vice president of aftermarket sales and e-commerce.

IMEA Launches Scholarship Program

The International Marine Electronics Alliance aims to recruit students into the field of marine technology.

RBFF Campaign Reels in Awards

The fishing-and-boating advocacy group’s Get on Board campaign was recognized by two national public relations organizations.

Suzuki’s Clean Ocean Project

Testing of the engine manufacturer’s microplastics filtering device continues as it moves closer to production. The company also released its full-year financials.