The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Capital Markets found that domestic boat sales are down about 25 percent at retail, year-to-date, in new sport boats and smaller cruisers. The company reported that lender loss rates are rising despite more conservative lending practices, resulting in tighter standards. Analysts also suggested that promotional pricing wasn’t a motivating factor for dealers to purchase more boats, since dealers are concerned with high, aging inventory.
But contrary to boat sales, boater participation continues to grow. According to the National Sporting Goods Association’s (NSGA) annual “Sports Participation—Series I and II,” boating participation increased 8.9 percent from 2006 to 2007, which means there are more than 31.9 million boaters on the water. Power boating is now the number 10 participation activity surveyed, while fishing holds the number 7 position. Also, power boating is the fourth fastest growing sport. For the entire report, visit www.nsga.org.
This discrepancy might be explained, in part, by the increase in used boat sales. As reported in the March/April issue of Marine Fabricator, pre-owned boat sales have risen 14.2 percent from 2006.