The BI Weekly 5 is a collection of tips, news and data affecting the boating industry this week. Be sure to look for the BI Weekly 5 every week on BoatingIndustry.com.
1. Outboard shipments up 6.5% in 2016
U.S. outboard engine wholesale shipments were up 6.5 percent last year for NMMA’s control group of manufacturers, which represent 95 percent of the market, the association reported. Gains were led by 4-strokes and higher-powered engines. Corresponding dollars were up by 9.2 percent.
2. Florida shipyard owners sue to block closure of bridge
A group of 22 plaintiffs has filed suit in federal court to block the 12-day closing of a bridge on Florida's New River, the Sun Sentinel reports.
The shipyard owners say the planned February closure would hurt business during the height of the winter boating season. The closure is being planned to make upgrades to the bridge for a new high-speed rail system in the state.
3. Attendance down at Atlanta, Chicago shows
Attendance was down 9 percent at the Atlanta Boat Show and down 1 percent at the Chicago Boat Show, show organizer NMMA reported. Both shows ended January 15.
Attendance in Atlanta was 22,732, down from 25,167 in 2016. Chicago had final attendance of 46,670, down from last year’s attendance of 47,359.
NMMA said the decrease in attendance in Atlanta was due to the Atlanta Falcons playoff game Saturday, which increased traffic and the price of parking at the convention center from $10 to $35. Saturday's attendance was down 46 percent from 2016.
4. Study: Ethanol better for environment than thought
Ethanol made from corn is better for the environment than previously thought, according to a new government study, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported.
The report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the biofuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent relative to gasoline — significantly more than the 21 percent estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010.
5. Expandable pontoon makes debut at Minneapolis Boat Show
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has the story of a father-son team that designed a pontoon that trailers at 8.5 feet wide, then expands to 11.5 feet on the water. After years of development, the company started taking orders at last week's Minneapolis Boat Show.