Boat sales show steady growth in 3Q

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The U.S. recreational boat industry ended the third quarter with the kind of moderate, steady growth that positions it to end 2014 with single-digit sales gains.

Sales in the main powerboat segments rose 4.6 percent to 35,870 for the July-September quarter and sales industrywide climbed by 6 percent to 61,872 in 45 states that comprise 93 percent of the market, Statistical Surveys reported today.

Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe said the industry probably will end the year with a sales gain of 5 to 6 percent in the main segments and 8 percent industrywide, results that would be in line with forecasts at the start of the year.

The third-quarter sales increase was broad-based and led by aluminum fishing boats and pontoon boats and fiberglass outboards. Sales of jetboats, ski boats and personal watercraft also posted solid gains.

“It’s a continuation of what we’ve been seeing in the monthly reports from the early-reporting states,” Kloppe said. “We’re having another year of positive, steady growth and we’re hoping to continue that growth through the upcoming winter boat show season.”

Sales of fiberglass outboards rose 11.8 percent for the quarter to 11,194, sales of aluminum fishing boats rose 5.1 percent to 9,466 and pontoon sales rose 4.8 percent to 10,979.

Sales of jetboats climbed 20.8 percent to 1,044, sales of ski boats climbed 13.2 percent to 2,075 and PWC sales increased by 8.7 percent to 16,372.

Sales of cruisers and large yachts gained, but the 14- to 30-foot sterndrive segment continued to lag as sales fell by 13.6 percent to 3.617.

Through the third quarter, 191,067 boats had been sold industrywide in the 45 states covered by the report, positioning the industry to exceed its 2014 sales total of 207,277 and top the 200,000 mark for the third year in a row as it recovers from the Great Recession.

The only states not covered in the quarterly report are Georgia, lllinois and Oregon, where the registration numbers were delayed, and Maine and Hawaii, which only report annually.

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