Boat sales drop slightly in January

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Sales of fiberglass boats in the popular 14- to 30-foot segment fell 5.9 percent in January from the same month in 2010. Sales of personal watercraft fell 3.8 percent and sales of all fiberglass boats, including personal watercraft, fell 6.3 percent in 31 early reporting states.

Sales of aluminum boats rose 8.6 percent in January from the same month last year, while sales of pontoon boats rose 8.7 percent from January 2010 and sales of aluminum fishing boats rose 8.2 percent.

All of the statistics are preliminary and cover early reporting states that represent about 69 percent of the national market. Documented vessels aren't included. because of data-entry delays at the Coast Guard. For that reason, declines in fiberglass boat sales could be slightly overstated. Only states that provide weekly or monthly information are included.

In January 2010, the fiberglass market was declining by 24 to 25 percent and the aluminum market was falling nearly as sharply. Single-digit declines in the fiberglass markets and healthy growth in the aluminum markets in January 2011 signal that demand is starting to outpace supply and that the industry is poised for a modest recovery this year.

— Aarn D. Rosen

National Marine Sales Manager

Statistical Surveys Inc.