Boating Industry

May 2016

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42 | Boating Industry | May 2016 /// Market Trends /// pontoons clearly drive the sales of new engines, outboard engine manufacturers are also fi nding new buyers in the repower market. Technologi- cal advancements in modern outboards make them attractive to boat owners who may love their current boat, but would like to reduce their fuel bills. "Outboards have come a long way, with in- novative features like automatic trim and power steering that substantially improve the owner- ship experience," Eckman said. "Compared to engines from even 20 years ago, it's like night and day: the new engines are incredibly quiet, they're amazingly fuel effi cient, they're substan- tially lighter in weight, they require less main- tenance, they're just better in every way. This makes them very compelling when the time comes to upgrade an existing boat." What's particularly interesting about the re- power market is that it isn't confi ned to replac- ing older outboards, said Gus Blakely, director of marine sales for Suzuki. With their low emissions and miserly fuel consumption, new outboards are also being positioned as attractive options for repowering boats originally equipped with sterndrives or inboards. "We do a signifi cant amount of repower busi- ness and a surprising amount of it involves re- placing older inboards," Blakely said. "We work with our dealers to help boat owners replace their inboards or sterndrives with outboards on brackets. The fuel savings alone is huge, plus you have easier maintenance and all the other advantages of outboard power. Outboards can integrate with other electronics at the helm, and a boat owner can even add joystick controls for easier docking, if they want. As a repowering op- tion, outboards don't have a down side." Technology rules Whether high power or portable, sold with a new boat or to repower an older one, the The growth of pontoons has spurred market share gains in the freshwater segment

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