February boat registrations up over 10% in main powerboat categories

March expected to be “a completely different story” due to coronavirus
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February boat registrations jumped 10.7 percent year-to-date in the main powerboat categories, and 9.6 year-over-year, according to preliminary data from Statistical Surveys Inc., a Michigan firm that tracks registration data.

The industry overall saw a 7.9 percent increase year-to-date and a 7.4 percent jump over February 2019, according to SSI data that included Florida — typically an early-reporting state.

The data showed January’s momentum increasing again — somewhat devastating since commerce would all but screech to a halt in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s just really disappointing,” SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today. “If you look at these numbers — January and February were a great start. I’m just hoping there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.”

Aluminum fishing boat registrations were up 17.7 percent over February 2019 to almost 1,900 units, and pontoons jumped 11.1 percent above last year to almost 1,400 units.

Ski and wake also continued its ascent, rising 8 percent year-over-year and 8.6 percent year-to-date. Fiberglass outboard-powered boats grew 6.9 percent over last year to 2,755 boats and was up over 10 percent year-to-date.

“We were just off to a great start in 2020,” said Kloppe. “It’s unfortunate that going into March, it’s obviously going to be a much different story.”

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