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Boat sales down, but better than last year

Sales of all fiberglass boats were down 9.5 percent in March.

Fiberglass boats in the 14- to 30-foot segment were down 13.8percent for the month. Aluminum boats sales fell by 10.3percent. PWC sales increased 10.5 percent.

March retail sales continued to fall, but at a much slower rate than last year. Aluminum boat sales and PWC declined at similar rates for the period, but slower than the fiberglass 14- to 30-foot segment. These slowing declines are a good sign that the market is settling to a new equilibrium. April activity will give us a clearer picture as we move into the second quarter and the primary boat buying season.

A year ago, the industry was looking at declines of 38.5 percent (fiberglass), 36.5 percent (PWC) and 17.2 percent (aluminum).

These preliminary statistics include31 early reporting states that represent approximately 69 percent of the national market. Only states that currently provide weekly or monthly information are included in this summary. Percentage change is presented on a calendar-year basis to reflect actual results. The Coast Guard Documented Vessels file was complete for the period.

— Aarn D. Rosen

National Marine Sales Manager, Statistical Surveys Inc.

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