Outboard boat sales up in August, but results generally mixed

MIAMI — August continued a trend from June and July with mixed results for the boat segments tracked by Info-Link Technologies Inc.’s Bellwether Report. The graphs can be viewed by clicking here: Info-Link Bellwether Report.

Losses tracked by the group had been decreasing steadily since last summer, when they reached their worst point of the recession. This summer saw some segments increase while others fell. In June three segments improved and three segments ticked down, and the same was true in July and August. From month to month, however, it hasn’t been the same three segments gaining ground.

The improved segments represent a tapering of losses in those categories, but sales still remain down from the previous 12 months.

Unit sales of powerboats 15 feet in length and above were down about 13 percent during the 12-month period ended Aug. 31, compared to the previous 12 months. Last spring and into summer, sales were running about 35 percent down and in April they were 20 percent down.

Within the outboard boat segment, unit sales were down about 8 percent during the same period (up from 10 percent down in July), while the sterndrive/jet boat segment sales were down about 28 percent (down from 25 percent in July), the personal watercraft segment was down about 12 percent (down from 11 percent in July), and the outboard sportfishing segment was down about 22 percent (down from 21 percent in July). In addition, the ski boat segment was down about 21 percent.

The Bellwether Report is based on new U.S. boat registrations in geographically dispersed states representing roughly half of the U.S. boat market.

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