Boat-sales decline slows in July

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New-boat sales volume in the fiberglass 14- to 30-foot segment continued to decline slower in July compared to the same period last year, based on 30 early reporting states, or 64 percent of the U.S. market.

Fiberglass boat sales in the popular lengths of 14 to 30 feet were down 20.5 percent in the early reporting states. Unit sales were 7,470, down from 9,396 in July 2008.

Aluminum boat sales declined 24.6 percent on 5,806 units from 7,708 units in the same period last year.

Personal watercraft sales fell 26.6 percent in the month, dropping from 9,348 units to 6,867 units.

The all-fiberglass segment was down 24 percent. Documented vessels were not included in the July results because of data entry delays at the Coast Guard.

July's results were not as consistent as I would have expected during the summer selling season if we were reaching the market floor. Aluminum and PWC declines were bigger in July than in June, while the 14- to 30-foot segment improved. I anticipate more sporadic results in third quarter, reflecting a continued market adjustment.

- Aarn D. Rosen

National marine sales manager

Statistical Surveys