July boat sales decline sharply


Fiberglass boat sales unexpectedly fell 31 percent in July in the popular 14- to 30-foot segment over much of the country, and the 5,419 units sold marked a record low for the month in that category.

Overall sales of fiberglass boats, including personal watercraft, fell 26 percent on a year-over-year basis in 30 early reporting states that represent about 65 percent of the national market. The preliminary results help identify the prevailing retail trends in the 30-foot-and-under marine market segments for states that are able to report either monthly or weekly.

Sailboats were the only bright spot in the fiberglass market, as sales rose 4.9 percent. Sales of personal watercraft fell 21 percent.

Aluminum boat sales slipped only 0.1 percent. The aluminum pontoon boat segment continued to buoy the market, however, as sales rose 7 percent.

The documented vessels file was not available for July because of data entry delays. Declines for boats over 30 feet could be slightly overstated as a result.

— Aarn D. Rosen

National Marine Sales Manager

Statistical Surveys Inc.