Aluminium boats lead US recovery

12 per cent decline in new powerboat sales still a good sign compared to previous 30 per cent drop, says US National Marine Manufacturers Association

According to a recent release by America’s National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMI), 18ft aluminium boats are leading the recovery of the US boating industry, as it struggles back to its feet after the pounding of the global financial crisis.

The NMMI said sales of 18ft aluminium boats were up by some 30 per cent for the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year, while overall sales of new powerboats were down 12 per cent. There are traces of hope even in that 12 per cent decline, as it represents a significant slowing of the sales dip — the corresponding figure for the previous year saw new powerboat sales down by a massive 35 per cent.

The US used boat market, meanwhile, remains strong, with sales of pre-owned boats rising by 7.7 per cent in 2009.

According to the President of the NMMI, Thom Dammrich, the latest figures are extremely encouraging. "Consumer spending and consumer confidence increases in March and April have helped boost new aluminium outboard powerboat sales, leading a recovery for the recreational boating industry as overall decline of new powerboat sales slow," he said. "This growth can signal a return of the entry-level boater, and the outdoors enthusiast and angler to boating," he said.

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