NMMA: Boat-sales decline slowed in first quarter

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First quarter 2010 data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association shows a slowing in the decline of new powerboat sales - down 12 percent compared to a decline of 35 percent during the first quarter 2009.

Leading this recovery are small aluminum outboard boats

Sales of new aluminum powerboats in the 18-foot range increased 30 percent during the first quarter 2010, the NMMA said in a release. Approximately 75 percent of the powerboat market is made up of outboard boats and an estimated 50 percent of those boats are aluminum.

"Consumer spending and consumer confidence increases in March and April have helped boost new aluminum outboard powerboat sales, leading a recovery for the recreational boating industry as overall new powerboat sales declines slow," NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. "This growth can signal a return of the entry-level boater and the outdoors enthusiast and angler to boating and an overall growing trend in fishing."

The top 10 states for aluminum boat sales in 2009, in ranking order with corresponding new unit sales, are Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois and Georgia.

"We anticipate 2010 new powerboat sales to remain flat with 2009 as the economic indicators that impact our industry - consumer confidence, housing and credit markets, as well as unemployment - start to improve and open the door for boat sales to begin increasing in 2011 and 2012," said Dammrich.

"The growth in the aluminum outboard boat market is consistent with recent trends showing increased fishing license sales and is an indicator of the beginning of a turnaround for new-boat sales," he added.

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