According to Statistical Surveys, a Michigan firm that tracks new-boat registrations, October 2021 boat registrations nationwide show a sixth consecutive month of constricted boat sales as demand continues to outpace supply due to the COVID-impacted supply chain issues. In a recent write-up in Soundings Trade Only magazine which tracks the boating industry, total industry registrations, representing 38 states or about 76% of the U.S. boating market, were down 20% for the month, with the main powerboat segments dropping 21% when compared to October 2020.
On a year-to-year basis, registrations in the most popular boating categories were off 9.3% year-to-date. Industry numbers dropped 8.3% with 259,142 boats registered in 2021, compared to 282,568 at the same time last year. For the month, double-digit drops define the main powerboat segments, with pontoons, outboard vessels and aluminum fish boats plunging by a combined average of 20%. On a year-to-year basis, the most popular categories are down a combined average of 9 percent.
Total industry registrations followed the same pattern, with every category down minus sailboats, which are having a banner year. The blowboat category apparently is up 49% (to 134 from 90) for October, and with 1,296 units sold they continue to put 2020 total sailboat sales in their wake.
Other categories of note included by Soundings Trade Only in the October outlook include boats larger than 66 feet, which are up 13% for the year (to 139 from 123). Houseboats have seen 21% growth for the year, with 58 work-from-anywhere offices registered in 2021 (up from 48). And electric boats continue to charge ahead, with 264 units sold this year, a 24% jump from 2020.
“While it’s a foregone conclusion that sales for the year will not reach 2020’s numbers, the future looks bright,” noted writer Jeff Moser in the Soundings piece, adding “The annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is a reliable bellwether for the marine industry, and this year’s five-day event saw several builders — including Boston Whaler, Sea Ray, Scout Boats, Tiara Yachts and Valhalla Boatworks — reporting record sales. Even with many of these boat companies acknowledging significant backlogs, customers still flocked to the docks, and seemed willing to wait for the exact boat they desire.”