Boating Industry

January 2016

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January 2016 | Boating Industry | 33 /// Market Trends /// brands. "Some days they may not want to fi sh at all. They might want to paddle board, or take the boat out and go to a restaurant for a nice meal, or enjoy an evening cruise with a business as- sociate. Today's boats need to perform multiple roles. It used to be that you would say 'I bought a ski boat' or 'I bought a fi shing boat,' the same way you would say you bought a sports car or a pickup truck or family sedan. That's the way it was for years. But today, many people simply drive an SUV that does it all, and they expect the same multi-role capability from their boat. So you can look at a new center console and say yes, it's still a center console, but today's boat will have vastly greater capability and comfort refl ecting its greater overall versatility." Those luxurious amenities may have been at- tractive upgrades just a few years ago, but today buyers consider them essential standard features. "Larger center consoles with more luxurious amenities and cabins inside the consoles have sold extremely well for us," notes Lang. "But the boat has to do more than just fi sh. You have to be able to entertain, and you have to be able to do that in comfort. Versatile, comfortable seating, a head compartment, a place to sit down and eat, now those are all expected." Outboard power NMMA data from its 2014 abstract shows out- board motor shipments are up, and especially big four-strokes. Much of this increase can be attrib- uted to the steady growth of the saltwater fi shing segment. Of the $2.3 billion spent on saltwater fi shing boats in 2014, outboard-powered boats represented a staggering $1.9 billion of that total. More recent NMMA data released in Consumer preference for outboard power has helped the saltwater segment grow, leading manufacturers say.

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