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Strong fourth quarter gives 2019 boat registrations a boost

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New boat registrations were off about 3.2 percent for the year in the main powerboat categories and 2.2 percent overall after a strong fourth quarter helped close out the year ahead of where the industry was after a sluggish spring and summer.

The main powerboat segments were down 3.2 percent for the year and 2.2 percent but were up 3.8 percent year-over-year in the main powerboat categories, and up 0.7 percent overall, according to final data from Statistical Surveys Inc., a Michigan firm that tracks new registration data.

“Q4 was a strong closing quarter,” SSI sales director Ryan Kloppe told Trade Only Today. “In the middle of the year, we were way down, around 5 or 6 percent. We closed that gap to 2.2 percent. Some of the states that are up for the year have seen good growth.”

For example, Florida, the top state for new boat registrations, grew about 2.5 percent over 2018, said Kloppe.

High-volume segments like fiberglass outboards, aluminum fish, pontoons and ski and wake all saw growth in the fourth quarter, Kloppe pointed out.

Fiberglass outboard boat registrations were up 7.1 percent for the quarter; ski and wake boats were up 3.7 percent; aluminum fishing boats grew 2.7 percent; and pontoons increased 2.4 percent over the fourth quarter of 2018.

Larger boats were down for the quarter and the year. The 31- to 40-foot cruiser segment was off 18 percent for the quarter and 9 percent for the year. The 41- to 65-foot category dropped 7.7 percent for the quarter and 13 percent for the year.

Sterndrive-powered boats had another disappointing quarter and year — the segment was off 6.7 percent for the quarter and finished out the year 11.2 percent behind 2018.

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