Report: Boat sales up in 2016, but growth slows

Boat sales continued to be up year-over-year in December, but the rate of growth slowed, according to the latest Info-Link Bellwether report.

According to Info-Link, the Bellwether report tracks sales of powerboats across the country based on new U.S. boat registrations on a rolling 12-month basis. Bellwether states are geographically dispersed states representing roughly half of the US boat market (varies by market segment and time of year).

Boat sales were up about 6 percent for year, down slightly from the annual rate of the last couple months and the smallest year-over-year increase for any month since 2013. In 2015, sales were up about 10 percent for the year.

The towboat segment generated the strongest growth for the year, with sales up by about 12 percent. That was on par with the 2015 growth.

The sportfish and PWC segments were also strong in 2016, with both categories growing by just south of 10 percent for the year. Sportfish sales were up about 10 percent in 2015, while PWC sales grew by about 17 percent in 2015.

Overall, sales of outboard-powered boats were up about 7 percent for the last year, compared to sales growth of about 10 percent in 2015. Sterndrive/jet sales were essentially flat for 2016, as they were in 2015.

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