2019 poised to be down 3.5 percent in main categories, 2.5 percent overall


New-boat registrations for 2019 are expected to be down 3.5 percent in the main powerboat categories and 2.5 percent overall, according to just-released data from Statistical Surveys. The nearly complete national registration data show increases in the ski/wake (up 4 percent) and personal watercraft categories (up 4.2 percent) for 2019, but all other categories declined. Total units are expected to be about 282,000 for the year, according to SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe.

Sterndrive registrations continued to fall in 2019. Data from Statistical Surveys shows the category will have dropped 11-plus percent last year, more than doubling the 4 percent declines in recent years.

The category, previously the bread and butter of the industry, was also surpassed in units by ski and wake boats in 2019. Year-to-date, nearly 11,000 towboats were registered versus 9,441 sterndrive boats.

“All the smaller ones have outboards now,” SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today. “All those 18- to 20-foot Sea Rays, Bayliners, are offering outboards. Now companies that never had them — Chaparral, Cobalt, Regal — all those runabout manufacturers that didn’t make an outboard now make outboards. They’re still making sterndrives, but how many are they selling? Less than ski and wake.”

This is the second full year that most builders have offered outboard models, and generally things take a year or so to show up in the numbers, Kloppe said.

Aluminum fishing boats had a robust December, rising 16.8 percent after a slower year; the category was down 7.6 percent year-to-date. Ski and wake boats had another good month, growing 9.3 percent compared with December 2018.

PWC is the only other category likely to see growth year-over-year; the category dropped 7.5 percent in December but was still up 4.2 percent year-to-date.


Comeback Kings

The Florida facility that used to produce Sea Ray yachts is now building the Sundancer 350 and the SLX 400 Outboard.