Boating Industry

November 2016

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Page 38 of 51 November 2016 | Boating Industry | 39 BY CRAIG RITCHIE hey're colorful. They're eye-grabbing. And they continue to attract buyers, for both the boats themselves and for those high-margin accessories. For all the changes that have occurred over the past fi ve years, inboard-powered ski and wake boats continue to post year-over-year sales growth in the high single-digit or low double-digit range, putting smiles on the faces of boat builders and dealers alike. The numbers don't lie The National Marine Manufacturer's Association notes that overall sales of tow boats have been growing steadily over the past fi ve years. Accord- ing to its 2015 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, NMMA notes that sales of inboard-powered ski and wake boats totaled 7,800 units in the 2015 calendar year. This represents a 9.85 percent sales increase over the 7,100 units reported sold in 2014, and steady growth when measured against the 6,100, 5,500 and 4,850 boats sold in 2013, 2012 and 2011 respectively. Not many other segments in the boating industry can boast fi ve straight years of similar increases. Much of this growth appears to be coming at the expense of tradi- tional sterndrive-powered bowriders. Although the 4,850 ski and wake boats sold in 2011 represent less than half the total sales volume of sterndrive-powered bowriders that year (11,870 units), by 2015 the gap had narrowed signifi cantly, with tow boats growing to 7,800 units while sterndrive-powered runabouts had dropped to 9,620. While sales of other boats also increased over the same period, the growth in annual tow boat sales since 2011 – 2,950 units – closely mirrors a corresponding decline Cobalt has experienced great growth in its Surf Series. Tow boat market has posted near double-digit growth for the past fi ve years.

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