Boat sales decline continued in December

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Sales of fiberglass boats in the popular 14- to 30-foot segment fell 13.8 percent in December from the same month a year earlier in 27 early reporting states.

For the year, sales in the category fell 21.9 percent, to 39,053 units, from 2009 figures in those states.

Sales of aluminum boats fell 0.8 percent for the month, to 1,183 units, from the same month last year. For the year, sales in the aluminum segment fell 1.2 percent, to 45,672 units, from 2009.

Sales of personal watercraft fell 13.4 percent in December from the same month a year earlier. Sales of all fiberglass boats, including personal watercraft, fell 18.3 percent.

All of the statistics are preliminary and cover early reporting states that represent about 66 percent of the national market. Documented vessels aren't included because of data-entry delays. For that reason, declines for all fiberglass boats could be overstated. Only states that provide weekly or monthly information are included.

December represents 2 percent or less of the annual volume for the year.

Optimists might look at 2010 as representing the floor of the aluminum market after a three-year economic slump; pessimists could see the year as the worst market for fiberglass boats in the last 10 years.

— Aarn D. Rosen

National Marine Sales Manager

Statistical Surveys Inc.

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