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Mixed results in early 2010 boat sales

With registration data in from 48 states, or 99 percent of the U.S. boat market, Statistical Surveys released its final boat-sales figures for the first quarter 2010.

Alabama and Iowa data was incomplete for March because of delays in data entry.

New-boat sales continued to fall in the first quarter. Aluminum boat volume decreased less than fiberglass. The total fiberglass market for all lengths was down 16.2 percent on 16,566 units for the quarter, down from 19,780 units in the comparable quarter last year.

In the fiberglass 14-foot-and-up segment, sales decreased by 21.1 percent in the first quarter on 10,910 units versus 13,829 for the same period last year. Sales fell 20 percent in the 30-foot and up segment year-to-date on 976 units. Unit volume was 1,220 in the first quarter of 2009.

Aluminum sales fell by 16.8 percent in the quarter. Unit volume was 12,165 units, down from 14,613.

Ski boat sales dropped 18.9 percent on sales of 719 units. Pontoon sales declined 10.1 percent on 2,644 units. Deck boat sales were down 26.6 percent on sales of 689 units, down from 939 units.

PWC sales posted a modest increase on 4,047 units, up 3.4 percent in the quarter. Jetboat sales also improved 3.3 percent in the quarter on 475 units, up from 460 units.

The first quarter of 2010 set another record low, but pontoon sales saw just a 10.1 percent decline. Jetboats and PWC saw modest increases on low volume.

Data for April at this point indicates segment declines are continuing to slow. The oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, however, may negatively influence gains in the second quarter.

— Aarn D. Rosen

Aarn D. Rosen is national marine sales manager for Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Statistical Surveys, which tracks retail boat sales.

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