Archive for » May 26th, 2014«

Pee Dee dealers see sea change in boat sales

Boat Season

Boat Season

Wade Altman, left, test drives a Nitro Z8 bass boat for customer Ricky Tipton, of Lugoff, SC, on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at Marshall’s Marine in Lake City. The boat dealer is one of the few that has a six acre, on-site test lake.

Boat Season

Boat Season

Rigging manager Ken Mooris, right, talks with customer Marion Humphrey about a new motor he purchased on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at Marshall’s Marine in Lake City.



Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2014 5:35 pm

Pee Dee dealers see sea change in boat sales

JOHN D. RUSSELL, Morning News

Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — Americans are taking their boats out in record numbers based on the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) most recent data.

It’s almost a guarantee that many of the nation’s 88 million boaters will be out this Memorial Day weekend.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014 5:35 pm.


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Weather hinders boat sales

WATERLOO | Area boating destinations may not be hosting as many new boats this Memorial Day weekend. Chilly spring temperatures and high water levels are taking their toll on area boat dealers.

“If you can’t put it in the water right away, you don’t want to buy a new boat,” said Tricia Arends, owner of Heartland Marine in Sumner.

High water means fewer places for boaters to dip in and more cause for caution about floating debris.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, which collects data on recreational boat use in the U.S., projects an increase in boat sales for this season. NMMA President Thom Dammrich said the boating industry is primed for a busy selling season after a year of inclement weather.

But local dealers are telling a different story.

Seth Hilton, general manager at Chain of Lakes Marine in Waterloo reports that sales are off, mainly due to poor boating weather locally.

“Look out the window; it’s cold, it’s windy, the water’s high,” Arends said. “It’s not conducive to boating yet.”

Arends and her husband, Harry, are veterans to the business of boating. They have been in the industry for a combined 65 years and at their Sumner location since 1998.

“We’re not strangers to it,” Arends said.

Harry Arends began working on boats during the Vietnam War, when he was guarding ammunition in the Philippines with the U.S. Navy.

Typically, Memorial Day brings a spike in boat sales, but dealers say that hasn’t happened last year or this year. That’s partly due to high water levels.

Arends said this only “helps the cause” to decrease boat sales.

The NMMA reports a 6 percent increase in nationwide boat sales between 2012 and 2013. Area dealers saw the same.

Hilton, who has owned boats ever since he was 15, said business last year was booming. He sold more than $800,000 of merchandise, including boats, motors and trailers.

This year, however, he has yet to see the same enthusiasm.

A common hurdle for boat dealers is high fuel prices, but fuel costs haven’t changed much in the last five years. As a result, Arends said, customers are prepared to pay up.

“You have to pay to play,” she said.

One factor impacting boat dealers is the growing popularity of motor homes and all-terrain vehicles. Sales of recreational vehicles, such as motor homes, increased sharply from 2012 to 2013, according to NMMA.

Local dealers say they don’t necessarily agree.

Heartland Marine’s Arends says she does not think ATVs and RVs affect her business; rather, they go hand-in-hand with boating.

“A lot of people who have boats also have RVs in a park or camp and they leave them there over the summer months while they use their boat,” she said.

Camping World in Cedar Falls offers RV buyers the option to trade in their boat for a new or used motor home. But General Manager Mick Maddox said he recalls doing this only once in the last couple years.

Most powerboats are purchased used, as opposed to new. NMMA data show just 20 percent of all recreational boat sales were for new boats.

Heartland Marine already has sold up all of the used boats it has. Arends said she can’t keep older models around long — they often are snatched up before she has the chance to post them online.

But she said boat manufacturers are introducing incentives to push new models.

One promising area is pontoon sales. Arends says the old notion that pontoons were only for grandmas and grandpas is slowly disappearing, and younger families are buying. Higher speed capabilities have prompted the surge in popularity.

Despite a dismal year so far, Hilton said, “I’m hoping it’s just a late spring.”


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California boat sales on strong rebound, but far below peak

California boat sales on strong rebound, but far below peak




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Visitors browse the yachts at the 2014 Newport Boat Show at Lido Marina Village. Boat sales in California have been on a two-year upswing after several years of decline.



Top 10 states in new powerboat sales:

1. Florida: $1,931,420,221, up 14% from 2012.

2. Texas: $1,170,110,215, down 2.2% from 2012.

3. Michigan: $651,972,329, up 1% from 2012.

4. Delaware: $567,203,555, up 17.7% from 2012.

5. Minnesota: $554,465,991, up 0.2% from 2012.

6. New York: $547,940,162, up 1.8% from 2012.

7. Wisconsin: $516,344,257, down 0.5% from 2012.

8. North Carolina: $505,466,304, up 2.9% from 2012.

9. Louisiana: $475,670,309, down 5% from 2012.

10. California: $428,956,673, up 16.9% from 2012.

2004: $1,201,149,368

2005: $1,274,045,713

2006: $1,210,422,380

2007: $976,879,799

2008: $594,740,334

2009: $417,176,557

2010: $310,262,319

2011: $312,980,668

2012: $367,016,212 (a 17.3% increase over 2011)

2013: $446,255,560 (a 21.6% increase over 2012)

Source: National Marine Manufacturers Association

Boat sales in 2013 for California were up nearly 17 percent over the previous year, following along with the national trend that has seen boat sales increase for two straight years.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, about 166,800 new powerboats and sailboats were sold nationwide in 2013, an increase of 2.2 percent. That comes on the heels of the industry’s 2012 rebound, when new powerboat and sailboat sales rose about 10.7 percent, continuing the bounce back from the industry’s low point in 2010.

“We appeared to bottom out in 2010 and saw minimum growth in 2011, but now we’re actually seeing California outpacing the national growth significantly,” said Thom Dammrich, National Marine Manufacturers Association president.

That’s due in part to California’s boat sales getting hit much harder during the recession compared to the rest of the nation.

Even with powerboat sales increasing 30 percent over the past two years, Dammrich said Californians are still only buying about one third of the boats they were compared to the industry’s heyday back in 2006.

Dammrich said that’s partly due to the housing market taking a harder hit here than in other parts of the country.

“What we’re seeing now is that the pontoon and aluminum fishing boat markets have started this recovery, and now the outboard boats and fiberglass ski and wakeboard boats are catching up,” Dammrich said.

Ski and wakeboard boats saw an 11 percent increase in the number of new boats sold in 2013 to 6,100 units, while outboard boats (pontoons, fishing boats and small family cruisers) were the most popular type of new powerboat sold in 2013, making up about 84 percent of the powerboat market.

Brett Tilly, owner of Tilly’s Marine boat dealers in Ventura and Huntington Beach, said his company nearly doubled its boat sales numbers from 2012 to 2013.

The company specializes in trailered ski, wakeboard and center console fishing boats.

“It wasn’t just the economy, but the dealers who overbought, and there was a flood of new boats from the manufacturers, with nobody buying boats,” Tilly said. “It was ugly for a while, but this past year was just huge.”

For 2014, the National Marine Manufacturers Association is expecting another 5 to 7 percent increase in retail sales of new boats.

In total, the National Marine Manufacturers Association estimates the recreational boating industry generates $36.7 billion in retail expenditures annually.

Contact the writer: thill@ocregister.com or 714-796-2468

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Chasing the dream not all plain sailing

Jason and Tristin Dickey



The first vessels built by Dickey Boats were put afloat about the same time the world economy sank.

At the end of a long, unremarkable cul de sac in Napier’s industrial area is a small team designing and building the best boats of their type in the country.

It’s a far cry from the old woolshed where Jason and Tristin Dickey laboured over their first boat, but the attention to detail that saw that first product take out a national award hasn’t changed.

Over years of sailing the world as an engineer on superyachts Jason saw the finest designs and slowly evolved plans for the perfect stylish, smooth-riding launches. Key to his design was using aluminium where other boats of similar size used fibreglass.

The couple were based in Auckland, where Tristin worked in the corporate world. Jason spent three months at home and three months on a 180-foot superyacht in whichever sea or ocean it might be.

The couple saw a massive gap in the market for 30-60-foot offshore capable boats, a size that was particularly popular in Europe and the United States.

“Boat design tends to vary between economic but hard riding and very uneconomical but riding very nicely,” Jason says. “It seems simple to bring it all together, but it’s actually very complicated.”

Around nine years ago they decided to chase the dream and go boat building. Napier won out over Auckland and Tauranga because of proximity to family.

“It’s hard work starting any business and the support we had from family and contacts here was really important. In Auckland we’d be a small fish in a big pond and we may not have had the same support,” Tristin says.

It took two years to build their first boat in that old woolshed in Ahuriri. A day after the “Dickey Semifly 28″ was completed in May 2007 it was taken to Auckland, where it won the national award for best aluminium fishing boat of the year.

“It was a very different design. It was alloy with a superyacht finish and had a distinct plumb bow, which was never really seen in New Zealand,” Jason says. (A plumb bow is one that looks square-ish and is nearly vertical when seen from the side rather than slanting back from top to bottom.)

“We’d sunk everything into that boat. It was a risk, but it was mitigated risk. We were young, we had good careers, if it didn’t work we could have gone back to work . . . for probably more money and less stress,” Tristin says.

About seven months after the award they were commissioned to build a second, larger boat. The “Dickey Semifly 32″ was launched in September 2008, the same month that Lehman Brothers crashed in the US, around the height of the global financial crisis. The boat building industry was one of the first casualties of the recession.

“We were small so we were nimble and we were able to design to meet demand. It wasn’t easy, but in hindsight we were probably in just the right position given the world economy,” she says.

Building trailer boats is what got them through the recession and it wasn’t until about eight months ago that the demand for larger launches resurfaced.

In late 2011 they built their current 700 sqm factory in the industrial area of Pandora and employed more people. Today they employ 11.

A bigger work space and more staff meant they could take on more sales and within two months they had five boats on the go.

To date the company has built about 50 boats. They can be found in Europe, Australia, the Pacific and around New Zealand. Every boat is entirely designed and built on site in Napier.

“From cabinetry, flooring, upholstery, the teak decks, aluminium work, electrical work, plumbing work, it’s all done here,” Jason says. “It’s always been our goal to have exports comprise about 60 per cent of business. If we can make an entire product here, not just a hull or a part, and we can back that up with after-sales service then it means we’ll have set up a successful company that’s great for New Zealand.”

There are just two downsides to being in Napier. The first, which has been largely overcome now, was convincing customers to leave Auckland and elsewhere to come and sea test the boats in Napier.

“To this day we’ve never lost a sale to someone who’s come here and been taken out on a boat,” says Jason.

The second downside is finding skilled staff who will relocate to Hawke’s Bay. In time the couple plan to expand the factory space and employ up to 20 people.

But much bigger than that and the company could lose an inherent strength.

“We like to know our customers and spend time with them. Every customer sits down with Jason and builds their dream. We don’t want to become so big we lose that,” Tristin says.

There are orders well into next year and demand would appear to be something that need not overly concern them.

Every boat is customised for each customer and therefore each price is a reflection of those differences, from layout, to equipment to finish.

Dickey declined to give revenue figures, but said that both boat production and overall revenue had been increasing year on year for the last four years.

Dickey Boats’ plumb bow is a design featured on all vessels produced at the factory. This is integral to the ability to create a soft ride and fuel efficiency from the same hull. It increases the water line length and the bow deadrise angle without changing the weight of the vessel.

– The Dominion Post



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