Skip to main content

Info-Link report details rebound in ski-boat market

The runabout category has struggled to bounce back post-recession, but the ski and high-performance market has performed well for the last couple of years.

That’s according to Jack Ellis of Florida-based Info-Link, who says the segment has exceeded growth in 2003 in several markets.

“Ski boats used to be about a 12,000-unit market at one point,” Ellis told Trade Only Today. “But the good thing here is that the last couple of years have been growth years for the tournament ski segment, which is interesting because sometimes people lump the ski-boat category into the runabout category. [But the runabout category overall] hasn’t performed that well, where these boats have.”

U.S. ski/wake boat sales.

U.S. ski/wake boat sales.

Ellis thinks the move toward more family activities — one of the factors driving growth in the pontoon market — is also playing a role in the rise of ski-boat sales.

For the 12 months that ended in February, ski-boat sales rose to about 6,000. The segment bottomed out post-recession in 2012 with about 4,800 unit sales before starting a steady climb.

States traditionally known for strong ski-boat sales, such as California, remained strong in February of this year. But states such as Texas, Michigan and North Carolina also accounted for many of the sales. Texas saw the largest year-over-year growth nationwide, with an additional 884 units sold.

And although California sales remained strong proportionally, they were a small percentage — 16 percent — of what the state sold in 2003. In contrast, the number of ski boats sold in Texas in 2013 was 88 percent of what it had been in 2003.

Alabama and Arkansas saw a rise in sales from 2003 — 123 percent and 102 percent, respectively — and states such as Minnesota and North Carolina were at 87 and 83 percent of their 2003 totals.

“The interesting thing here is that there has been a huge shift in ski-boat sales away from California,” Ellis said. “California used to be the principal market for ski-boat sales. [The market is] a little more balanced these days and not so dependent on California. Ski boats are being sold all over the country. There’s more of a balance, so that’s probably a good thing.”

Overall powerboat sales rose in February from 2013, Ellis said, albeit “not by a lot.”

What will be more telling is how sales fare in March, when more of the Northern states traditionally begin the selling season. With several areas receiving snow well into March, Ellis said, “it will be interesting to see how we fare if everyone is still frozen in.”



Limestone Secures Financing for Expansion

The company said the $6 million in credit will be used to improve its Tennessee manufacturing facility and buy new equipment.


Mastry Marine Names Repower Center

St. Augustine, Fla.-based McKenzie Marine is the engine distributor’s latest designated Suzuki Repower Center.


Vanderbilt Ships First Pontoon

The company said the 700T Series was the first model shipped from its new Fort Wayne, Ind., factory and was delivered to The Marina in Angola, Ind.


NMMA Celebrates CHIPS Act

The legislation aims to return semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S. and allows businesses to deduct R&D costs in the same year they are incurred.


Cox Marine Hires Sales and Support Staff

The diesel outboard builder this week brought aboard a new regional sales director, regional sales manager and an aftersales manager.


Boating Interests Lose Wind Farm Battle

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed wind farm off the Cleveland, Oh., waterfront meets planning requirements.


July Inflation Data Lags June

Consumer Price Index results may indicate that inflation has peaked, and Producer Price Index data was below market expectations.


Yamaha Posts Higher Sales, Profit

The company’s first half 2022 net sales increased to $1.93 billion, and segment income rose to $330 million.