NMMA attempts to clear up consumer misperception

CHICAGO – A trend toward sales of bigger, better equipped boats drove an 8-percent increase in new boat dollar sales in 2005, while unit sales remained flat, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

At the same time, the cost of boating is going up. Not only are boats getting more expensive, it also costs more to gas them up, rent a slip and even get them repaired.

Add that together, and it’s no surprise that consumers are getting the wrong idea.

“When we look at the trend toward larger, better equipped boats we’re not talking about mega-yachts, rather we are seeing middle class Americans buy a 22-foot boat instead of an 18-foot boat,” noted NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “Most Americans believe boating is only for the affluent, but boats today are affordable and versatile, providing an opportunity for more people to experience what it’s like to escape life on land and enjoy the boating lifestyle.”

NMMA said that while boaters are upgrading, 95 percent of mechanically propelled boats are actually 26 feet in length or below. In fact, 76 percent of boats on the water today are owned by individuals or families with a household income under $100,000, according to the association.

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