In its 12th annual State of the Industry report, presented last week during the Miami International Boat Show, The Sailing Company outlined the industry’s challenges and opportunities in 2012.
Although there are “tough waters still ahead,” with election-year doldrums, an uncertain jobs outlook and other issues plaguing the U.S. economy, sailing participation remains strong, chartering remains strong for nurturing new buyers and consumer confidence is on the rise, the report said.
Some highlights of this year’s report include:
• Sailboat production in North America was down 3 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. The report says 6,322 boats were produced, down 170 from the year before.
• The recession has had a significant impact on sailboat builders in North America; the number of builders declined from 146 to 113 between 2005 and 2011.
• The two size segments that saw growth were boats 12 to 19 feet and 30 to 35 feet, both of which were up 11 percent.
• The largest boats were one of the hardest-hit segments; boats 46 feet and up were off 36 percent.
• Imports were up strongly, 32 percent from 2010, up to 251 units over 20 feet.
• After a poor showing in 2010, multihull imports were also up dramatically in 2011, representing 48 percent of all imports.
• Bareboat charters booked out of North American source markets were down slightly, off 6 percent, to 17,869 weeks. The overall decline came from the winter season and Caribbean destinations; the summer season and North American destinations fared better.
• Twenty percent of the sailboats built in North America in 2011 were for export.
• Sailboat builders are optimistic about 2012, predicting 14 percent growth, mostly in the 20- to 35-foot category.