June Boat Registrations Leap 20 Percent

SSI data shows double-digit gains in several segments.
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SSI-Soundings-June-2020

June boat registrations were up in several key categories, according to preliminary data released today by Michigan-based Statistical Surveys Inc.

“The numbers are fantastic,” SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today, adding that entry-level boats had a particularly outstanding month. “You can’t say there are too many industries that are profiting from Covid, but the marine industry is definitely one of them.”

Personal watercraft and jet boats both leapt more than 27 percent over June 2019 registrations — a whopping 12,109 new PWCs were registered across the 30 states from which registration data was collected, accounting for around 57 percent of the U.S. market.

Even the bowrider segment was up for the month, rising 12 percent after years of almost consecutive quarterly declines.

Sterndrive bowrider registrations rose 8 percent, and outboard-powered bowriders jumped 50 percent, said Kloppe.

Pontoons and aluminum fishing boats rose nearly 23 percent each over June 2019 numberss.

A look at the early-reporting states shows that nearly all of them are up substantially over the same period last year as well.

Texas, the No. 2 boating state for the month, saw nearly 40 percent growth in new boat registrations this June versus June 2019, and North Carolina, ranked No. 3 for number of new boats registered, saw almost a 57 percent increase.

“Even [No. 4 ranked] Michigan was up, and we were locked completely down,” said Kloppe.

New York, Wisconsin and Georgia (ranked 5th, 6th and 7th) were up 21.5 percent, 43 percent, and 47 percent, respectively.

Texas also had close to the same number of boats registered for the month as Florida, the top boating state in the United States; Texas counted 4,555 compared to 4,779 in Florida.

Florida saw a decrease for the month — which was not a tough comparison since June 2019 was off 10 percent in the state — leading Kloppe to believe the state might be backlogged.

“I still think we’re missing some data,” said Kloppe. “I think some of the states are backlogged just because of the simple fact that some state employees were working from home, they’re coming back to all these registrations, and they’re trying to enter them as fast as possible and get it out to us.”

The strong showing reflects the demand that was reflected pre-pandemic, when January and February were up double digits, said Kloppe, adding: “Covid has just enhanced the urgency to get on a boat; what a great way to social distance and hang out with family and friends.”

“What we’re seeing is obviously a trend of people jumping in the marine industry as a way to enjoy the summer,” said Kloppe. “We can’t travel anymore. We’re not taking vacations. So basically, here’s your entertainment for the summer.” 

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