Jacobs: The worst is behind us

HOPKINS, Minn. — Irwin Jacobs, in an update to dealers of the boat brands he and John Paul DeJoria purchased last year, said this week he is totally convinced that “the worst is behind us in the retail recreational boating market.”

While he stressed that change wouldn’t come to the industry overnight, Jacobs said there are several positive indicators that clearly show boat buying consumers are getting back into pleasure boating — including new, first-time buyers.

“Although it is still early into the 2011 boat show selling season throughout the U.S. and Canada, there’s already been some very positive signs that the boat buying consumer is once again getting interested in recreational boating,” Jacobs wrote. “Traffic and sales at the early boat shows are substantially better than they have been over the past year or two. In past years the retail recreational boating market has always been the first discretionary consumer product to slow down and the last to pick up behind automobiles and RV’s. I believe this year will be no exception and we’re seeing the car and RV industry recovering with substantial increases of the retail consumer coming back into the market again for autos, RV’s and now I believe recreational boats will be right behind them this spring as they have in past years.”

Jacobs said he was pleased with the progress being made by the brands being manufactured at his company’s factory facilities in Little Falls, Minn., which include Larson, Triumph, FinCraft and Seaswirl.

“I don’t believe there’s ever been another recreational boating company that has been able to successfully retool as many new products in the short period of time such as we’ve been able to accomplish in just this last year,” he wrote.

He also noted that the company has signed 104 new dealers to represent its brands beyond its 227 existing dealers.

“Although the past few years have been the most difficult and challenging years our industry has ever experienced,” Jacobs wrote, “I’m convinced the future looks very bright for those of us who are committed to the future of the recreational boating industry.”

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