Boating Industry

October 2016

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60 | Boating Industry | October 2016 /// Market Trends /// major reason for the continuing popularity of deck boats is that they're seen as being easier to tow than a pontoon, which makes them more approachable – especially to new boaters and first-time buyers. Further, their lower profile on a trailer can make them easier to store in a garage or barn, where a pontoon boat that sits higher on the trailer might not clear the door frame. "For a lot of reasons, it's a segment that con- tinues to attract new buyers and attract new boaters," says Roth. Riding the outboard power wave One of the great attractions to deck boats is their ability to offer a choice of either outboard or stern drive power. According to Tim Schiek, president of Brunswick's Recreational Boat Group, both segments have shown growth in recent years. "Over the past five years we've seen the deck boat category growing nicely in both outboard and sterndrive power," he said. "Both Sea Ray and Bayliner have picked up significant market share over the last few years. Growth has slowed a little bit over the past 12 months, but it is still moving in the right direction. The growth has been driven by both outboard and sterndrive models. But outboard power has obviously evolved tremendously, and is clearly driving the segment. We're seeing good demand in out- board deck boats which has allowed Sea Ray and Bayliner to expand their product offering from sterndrive into outboard and really, attract Deck boats now represent 85 percent of fiberglass sales for Smoker Craft.

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