Boat sales soar in Washington

SEATTLE – Boat sales in Washington state soared during the first quarter of 2004, with new boat sales by dealers experiencing the largest increase – 17 percent in units and 25 percent in dollars over the same period in 2003, the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) said in a report yesterday.

Total boats sold (new and used) were up 6 percent from the first quarter in 2003, and the increase in units meant $15.8 million more in sales, NMTA reported.

“Boats are selling right now,” said Michael Campbell, president of the NMTA, which produces the Seattle and Everett boat shows. “It appears people are gaining confidence in the economy and with the great weather we’ve been having and record-low interest rates, buyers are coming aboard.”

King County (on the Puget Sound) continued its reign as boating leader in Washington, accounting for more than 18 percent of the state’s sales during the quarter, NMTA said.

The association said boats are selling so well that it canceled a three-day, parking-lot sale during the opening weekend of boating season in early May.

“Dealers simply don’t have enough boats to display during the event,” said George Harris, NMTA vice-president and boat show director. “From what I’ve heard, they’ve had such a successful start to the year that they have to focus on delivering boats that have already been purchased because they’ve sold more than expected.”

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