May Boat Registrations Drop 9.2% in Main Powerboat Categories

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New boat registrations declined 12.1 percent year-to-date and 9.2 percent year-over-year in the main powerboat categories, according to preliminary data from Statistical Surveys Inc., using data from 27 states — representing approximately half of the U.S. boat market.

The industry overall was down 1.5 percent year-over-year and 11 percent year-to-date, in part reflecting strong activity in the personal watercraft and jet boat segments.

Jet boats saw a 27.6 percent surge in registrations, from 554 in May 2019 to 707 this year.

PWC registrations jumped 18.6 percent, from 7.189 units in May 2019 to 8,527 last month.

“That is a great indicator of maybe some new people getting into the industry as well,” SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today.

Florida, the No. 1 state for boat registrations, saw a 16 percent increase in registrations over May 2019, and North Carolina was up 21 percent over the same period last year, Kloppe pointed out.

But not all states experienced a surge. Registrations in New York, for example, were down nearly 22 percent.

“New York has been on lockdown for three straight months,” said Kloppe. “California’s the same way. It’s going to be down.”

The covid-19 pandemic made it difficult to obtain data from certain states that typically report early, such as South Carolina, California and Michigan, said Kloppe.

“We’ve done our best, we’ve been working with these states left and right, and I know some of them are sick of hearing from us, but we know there’s some missing data and there’s going to be some late registrations,” said Kloppe. “The states we publish are ones that seem complete.”