Sales of fiberglass outboards, pontoon boats and personal watercraft surged in August, giving the recreational boat industry its highest percentage gains of the year.
Even the sterndrive category showed improvement — posting a 6 percent increase to 861 — as sales rose 8.7 percent in the main powerboat segments to 9,188 and 12.4 percent industrywide to 15,578 in 27 states that represent about 64 percent of the national market, Statistical Surveys reported today.
The double-digit increase across the industry was the first for any month this year in the early-reporting states and, for the second month in a row, Texas (2,289) topped Florida (2,253) to rank first in sales nationwide among those states.
On a year-over-year basis, sales are up 5.6 percent to 121,084 in the main segments and 6.2 percent industrywide to 189,209 in the 27 states.
“The big players had a huge month,” Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe said, adding that dealers across the country have been reporting strong sales and turnover during the summer.
“We hadn’t seen it in the retail numbers,” he said. “Those sales and that turnover are finally showing up here in August.”
“This is the first time we’ve seen sterndrives up in quite a while,” he added. “That’s good for the industry.”
Sales of small to midsize fiberglass outboards rose 7.3 percent to 3,152 and pontoon sales climbed 16.9 percent to 2,501. PWC sales were up 26.8 percent to 4,693.
The industry nearly had four categories with sales that topped 2,000. Sales of aluminum fishing boats fell just shy of that mark, rising 4.5 percent to 1,961.
After Texas and Florida, the top states for sales were Michigan (1,266), South Carolina (1,176), California (1,016), Tennessee (871), New York (760), North Carolina (754), Alabama (507) and New Jersey (504).
The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports of documented vessels, providing a complete picture of sales in the low-volume, bigger-boat categories. Sales of 41-to-62-foot yachts were up by two at 63 and sales of 63- to 99-foot yachts rose by five to 17.
The 31- to 40-foot cruiser category was the only one in the main segments in which sales declined. They fell by 21 to 80.
Ski-boat sales rose 7.4 percent to 553 and jetboat sales were up 28.1 percent (71 boats) to 324. Jetboat sales were up 20.9 percent through August at 3,565 in the early-reporting states.
Sailboat sales continued to lag, falling by six boats to 153. They were down 7.8 percent, at 1,782, through August in the early-reporting states.