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Boating Sales Enjoy Slight Growth During 1Q

Early spring weather was unkind to the U.S. marine industry again this year, but first-quarter numbers from Statistical Surveys Inc. suggest that 2014’s signature bitter chill was somewhat less of a sales deterrent than the raw and wet conditions were a year earlier.

Soundings Trade Only reported that sales in the industry’s main powerboat segments edged higher this year, rising by 212 boats, or 0.9%, to 23,684, and industrywide sales rose by 824 boats, or 2.5%, to 34,341, in 48 states that represent 99% of the nation’s boat market.

Only Maine and Hawaii, which report sales once a year, were not included in the report. A year earlier, sales fell 4.4% for the quarter in the main segments and 8% industrywide.

“I think we better weathered the storm this year,” Statistical Surveys National Marine Sales Manager Ryan Kloppe said.

Kloppe said the data bore out reports from exhibitors at boat shows that they were seeing significant numbers of interested and qualified buyers.

“I think pent-up demand helped us through the bad weather,” he said. “As we hit the summer months in this country, I think you’ll see the sales gains continue.”

In a tale of two tough seasons, sales were higher for the quarter this year in each of the three high-volume segments where the industry has shown significant growth since the Great Recession ended.

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