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Correction: Exchange-Boat Sales Increase story

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — In an AP Member Exchange story from June 5 about boat sales in Oklahoma, The Journal Record reported erroneously that Steve Jennings, the owner of Blackbeard Marine Inc., said the company did $2 million in sales this year. He said it did $2 million in sales in May.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Oklahoma City-area retailers surprised by hike in boat sales

The state is below the national trend in boat sales, but retailers report this season is faring better than last year

An AP Member Exchange shared by The Journal Record.

By MOLLY M. FLEMING

The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state is below the national trend in boat sales, but retailers report this season is faring better than last year.

“If you look at both of our locations, we’re up about 70 percent (in sales), year to date,” Steve Jennings, owner of Blackbeard Marine Inc. in Tulsa and Kingston, told The Journal Record (http://bit.ly/25CTgfU ).

Jennings works at the Kingston location, which sprawls across 13 acres. The Tulsa store is only about 3 acres, and he said he’s running out of storage room. He said he’s done $2 million in sales this month, with another $2.5 million waiting to close.

“Our summer really gets going May to Labor Day,” he said. “We’ll sell double the rest of the year.”

Nationally, it’s expected to be a good year for boat sales, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The group anticipates sales of new powerboats will increase 5 to 7 percent over last year. In 2015, powerboat sales increased 8.5 percent compared to 2014.

NMMA President Thom Dammrich said warm, sunny weather will drive more people to retailers and waterways. He said boating is not as susceptible to low gasoline prices, though some people do take their extra disposable income and purchase a watercraft.

He said the retail increase is likely about the weather. In Oklahoma last summer, several lakes were flooded, which kept people off the water. But in Texas and California, some areas had drought conditions. This summer, lake levels seem to be returning to normal, he said.

Nevertheless, Oklahoma has to climb out of a small hole from 2014, when boating registrations decreased 1 percent compared to 2013. New powerboat, outboard engine, trailer and aftermarket accessory sales increased $2 million. Between 2013 and 2014, there was about a $28 million increase in the accessory sales, according to the NMMA.

Dammrich said two summers of extreme weather – drought and then flooding – could have caused some boaters or potential boaters to get cabin fever; this year, they were anxious to get to retailers or boat shows.

At Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees, Shangri-La Marina and Boat Sales didn’t see a slowdown in sales after the winter boat shows, said Mike Williams, communications director.

“Sales have been increasing and consistent since the Tulsa and Oklahoma City boat shows in February,” he said.

Sales are up 15 percent compared to the same time period last year. He said his team is surprised at the increase. They were bracing for a slow year after energy-industry layoffs. He said when the price of oil dropped in the 1980s, it devastated the retail boat industry.

“Oklahoma’s economy has become much more diversified, and we can sure see that in boat sales,” he said.

Oklahoma boat registrations have not reached the pre-recession total of 223,758, which was the 2007 amount. Nationwide, Dammrich said sales haven’t reached the 2007 numbers either. In 2007, about 270,000 powerboats were sold, with 238,000 sold in 2015.

“It’s been a slow road back,” he said. “Everyone would like a much faster recovery, but it’s been a healthy way to come back.”


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Manatee County: What sales tax will mean if approved – Sarasota Herald

MANATEE COUNTY — A new East County library and community center, sidewalks for neighborhoods where pedestrians now walk in the streets, replacements for aging playgrounds and athletic facilities and other line items are on a lengthy list of projects the Manatee County administration says could get funded if voters approve a half-cent sales tax.

Currently, Manatee consumers pay 6.5 percent in state and local taxes on non-exempted purchases. The renewal of a half-cent sales tax for the School Board will also be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The county says that, if the electorate approves a sales tax of a half-cent on each dollar for the county, an estimated $345 million would be available over the next 15 years for projects that are now unfunded. The revenue could free property taxes that are otherwise going to capital expenses, many of which cannot be legally paid with impact fees on new construction.

If the tax passes, the county says a typical household will pay about $50 to $70 more in sales taxes each year starting Jan. 1. The county could float bond issues financed by the future recurring income to get projects underway sooner. Impact fees, being one-time charges, cannot be bonded.

County Commission Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh is urging voters to “do your homework” before deciding to support or reject the tax.

In that regard, the county has compiled a 15-page list of projects that could be funded with the new revenue stream that could bring in $23 million annually.

More than 70 percent of the money, nearly $244 million, would go toward transportation work — including more than 80 new or extended sidewalks in areas ranging from Parrish to Bayshore Gardens; traffic signals, turn lanes, mast-arm supports or other upgrades at 23 intersections; and repaving and the possible addition of lanes, sidewalks, lights or bike lanes on 25 existing roads.

More than 15 percent, more than $52 million, would go toward public safety and law enforcement — such as replacing a Sheriff’s Office helicopter, renovating buildings for the Sheriff’s Office, jail renovations, replacing seven lifeguard towers, a replacement ambulance, upgrades to the 911 system and renovations at the frequently overcrowded animal shelter.

More than 14 percent, or more than $48 million, would go toward parks and community amenities — including a new East County library and an expanded Braden River Library and Rocky Bluff Library; new restrooms, reconstructed boardwalks or other work at Kingfish Boat Ramp, the Braden River boat ramp, Leffis Key and Robinson Preserve; more amenities (including a dog park) at Braden River Park and replacement athletic courts or other upgrades at G. T Bray Park, Lakewood Ranch Park, Lincoln Park, Blackstone Park, Bennett Park, Myakka Park, the John H. Marble Recreation Center and Coquina Beach.

In December, the county assembled the 13-member Citizens Financial Structure Advisory Board to address the issue of whether the county needs to diversify its revenue sources.

After more than four months of study, the committee concluded that the county is too dependent on property taxes, which are 18 percent below what was collected prior to the recession while during the same period the population grew by 40,000 to now exceed 363,000. Because of exemptions, roughly a third of property owners pay 67 percent of the county’s property taxes.

The county estimates that tourists would pay roughly a third of the sales tax.

Yet whether voters will endorse a tax hike is an uncertainty.

In 2013, the county asked the electorate to approve a half-cent sales tax to subsidize health care for the underinsured and uninsured. More than 60 percent of participating voters rejected the idea.

 


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Final hurdles cleared for construction of $5 million boat center in Waukegan Harbor

The Waukegan Port District approved a long-term lease agreement this month for a Wisconsin-based company’s plan to build a $5 million Chicago Yachting Center with boat sales and service at Waukegan Harbor and Marina.

The agreement calls for a payment of nearly $3 million for a 25-year lease, and Bay Marine of Sturgeon Bay, Inc. has agreed to build a state-of-the-art facility that will offer inside heated and outdoor storage, a fully certified service department and new, used and brokerage yacht sales, said Gregg Pupecki, general manager for the harbor.

The improvements will include a new 85-ton lift arm in the harbor’s South Recreational Basin, which will be installed in a few weeks and, in work that has already started, take out some harbor boat slips along the shoreline, he said.

The development will create a 40,000-square-foot showroom for “high-end marine retail and boats” and a 7,000-square-foot administrative center on a five-acre plot southeast of Madison Street and Pershing Road, which sits on the northern boundary of the port district headquarters.

Kathy Larsen, administrative manager and one of the family owners of Larsen Marine just north of Waukegan Harbor, said Bay Marine will be competition for them and Waukegan Yacht Services, which is also located on port district land next to the Waukegan Harbor.

“I think it’s great for both us,” she said, noting Bay Marine’s bigger lift will allow the company to move 80-foot powerboats, which Larsen cannot move with its slightly smaller lift.

“We welcome the competition. It’s a win-win for everyone,” she said, noting anyone going to their family business or the new marina would naturally make the short trip to check out what the other business has to offer.

“Now they have three choices,” she said, referring to storage and service.


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Boat sales show small gains in May

Posted on June 21st, 2016
Written by Jack Atzinger


Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The spring began with much promise in the recreational boat industry — 20 percent sales gains in March — but apart from a few reliable growth engines, overall sales in May weren’t much stronger than they had been during a weak April.

Sales of fiberglass outboard boats, and aluminum fishing and pontoon boats, rose in a range of 4.6 to 7.2 percent, but sales of summer fun boats such as ski and wake boats, jetboats and personal watercraft treaded water or fell below the pace of the same month last year, Statistical Surveys reported today.

Sales in May rose 3.3 percent to 14,825 boats in the main powerboat segments, and they were nearly flat — up just 0.5 percent — industrywide from the same month last year at 23,089 in 26 states that represent about 63 percent of the U.S. boat market.

Aluminum pontoon boats were the top seller among the main segments. Sales rose 4.6 percent to 4,997 boats. Sales of aluminum fishing boats climbed 5.8 percent to 3,262 and sales of outboard fiberglass boats ranging from 11 to 50 feet rose 7.2 percent to 4,372.

Sales of personal watercraft topped all industry categories at 5,636, but they were 4.8 percent lower than in the same month a year earlier. Sales of jetboats fell 12.2 percent, or 57, to 411, and sales of ski and wake boats fell by six boats, or 0.7 percent, to 870.

For perspective, sales for the year through May are still up 6.3 percent in the main powerboat segments and 5 percent industrywide in the early-reporting states.

“2016 was projected to have approximately 6 percent growth, so we’re still on pace for a great year,” Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe said, noting the strength in pontoon and fiberglass outboard sales for the month.

Florida led the nation with 3,367 May sales, but that was down from 3,346 last year. Michigan ranked second with 2,912 sales, up from 2,823 a year earlier. Texas at 2,460 (up from 2,428 last year), New York, at 1,787 (down from 2,059 last year) and North Carolina, at 1,425 (up from 1,384 last year) completed the top five.

The rest of the top 10 states were Alabama at 1,354 (down from 1,457); Ohio at 999 (up from 986); Tennessee at 929 (down from 1,000); California at 836 (up from 686); and South Carolina at 828 (up from 631).

The Coast Guard was up to date in its reports on documented vessels, providing complete figures in the bigger-boat categories. Sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers fell by 18 to 132. Sales of 41- to 65-foot yachts rose by three to 96 and sales of 66-foot and larger semicustom and custom yachts fell by nine to 10.

Sailboat sales rose by 14, or 6.6 percent, to 226.


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Correction: Exchange-Boat Sales Increase story

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — In an AP Member Exchange story from June 5 about boat sales in Oklahoma, The Journal Record reported erroneously that Steve Jennings, the owner of Blackbeard Marine Inc., said the company did $2 million in sales this year. He said it did $2 million in sales in May.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Oklahoma City-area retailers surprised by hike in boat sales

The state is below the national trend in boat sales, but retailers report this season is faring better than last year

An AP Member Exchange shared by The Journal Record.

By MOLLY M. FLEMING

The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The state is below the national trend in boat sales, but retailers report this season is faring better than last year.

“If you look at both of our locations, we’re up about 70 percent (in sales), year to date,” Steve Jennings, owner of Blackbeard Marine Inc. in Tulsa and Kingston, told The Journal Record (http://bit.ly/25CTgfU ).

Jennings works at the Kingston location, which sprawls across 13 acres. The Tulsa store is only about 3 acres, and he said he’s running out of storage room. He said he’s done $2 million in sales this month, with another $2.5 million waiting to close.

“Our summer really gets going May to Labor Day,” he said. “We’ll sell double the rest of the year.”

Story continues below video

Nationally, it’s expected to be a good year for boat sales, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The group anticipates sales of new powerboats will increase 5 to 7 percent over last year. In 2015, powerboat sales increased 8.5 percent compared to 2014.

NMMA President Thom Dammrich said warm, sunny weather will drive more people to retailers and waterways. He said boating is not as susceptible to low gasoline prices, though some people do take their extra disposable income and purchase a watercraft.

He said the retail increase is likely about the weather. In Oklahoma last summer, several lakes were flooded, which kept people off the water. But in Texas and California, some areas had drought conditions. This summer, lake levels seem to be returning to normal, he said.

Nevertheless, Oklahoma has to climb out of a small hole from 2014, when boating registrations decreased 1 percent compared to 2013. New powerboat, outboard engine, trailer and aftermarket accessory sales increased $2 million. Between 2013 and 2014, there was about a $28 million increase in the accessory sales, according to the NMMA.

Dammrich said two summers of extreme weather – drought and then flooding – could have caused some boaters or potential boaters to get cabin fever; this year, they were anxious to get to retailers or boat shows.

At Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees, Shangri-La Marina and Boat Sales didn’t see a slowdown in sales after the winter boat shows, said Mike Williams, communications director.

“Sales have been increasing and consistent since the Tulsa and Oklahoma City boat shows in February,” he said.

Sales are up 15 percent compared to the same time period last year. He said his team is surprised at the increase. They were bracing for a slow year after energy-industry layoffs. He said when the price of oil dropped in the 1980s, it devastated the retail boat industry.

“Oklahoma’s economy has become much more diversified, and we can sure see that in boat sales,” he said.

Oklahoma boat registrations have not reached the pre-recession total of 223,758, which was the 2007 amount. Nationwide, Dammrich said sales haven’t reached the 2007 numbers either. In 2007, about 270,000 powerboats were sold, with 238,000 sold in 2015.

“It’s been a slow road back,” he said. “Everyone would like a much faster recovery, but it’s been a healthy way to come back.”


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When Lake Hartwell’s level is up, so are the boat sales


A couple and their dog walk toward docked boats at Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.


Boats are docked at Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.


A small boat slowly moves into the Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.


A small boat slowly moves into the Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.

By Abe Hardesty of the Independent Mail

Jane W. Davis looked at Lake Hartwell Friday morning and reveled at what she didn’t see.

“There’s no red shoreline,” said Davis, co-owner of 33-year-old Big Water Marina near Starr, referring to the clay that is exposed when Hartwell’s level drops.

“I don’t want to say anything to jinx it, but I’m very happy that Hartwell’s level is high.”

For Davis and others whose livelihood is linked to the 56,000 acres of water near Anderson, the lake elevation typically determines boat sales and the use of boat storage slips.

“When Hartwell is full, people feel better about using their boat. And the more often they come to the lake, the more they think about buying a boat,” said Davis, whose marina is located about two miles north of Hartwell Dam.

“The last two years, we’ve been at full pool, and things have been busy on the lake,” she said, noting that sales are up dramatically in comparison to the dry years of 2011 and 2012 and the rain-soaked summer of 2013.

Hartwell’s level stood at 658.6 feet above mean sea level Friday, its lowest point since mid-February but nonetheless close enough to full pool (660 feet) to make it an attractive destination for those who own or rent boats.

The lake was nine feet below full pool (651 feet) at the start of 2011, 16 feet below full pool (644 feet) at the outset of 2012, and 15 feet low (645 feet) in January 2013.

For most of 2016, the lake has been at or above full pool.

“When the water is up, we’re selling boats,” said Leroy Long at Long’s Marine Center.

From the other side of the lake, Hartwell Marina owner Brant Tew sees the same trend.

“A few years ago, someone at Clemson did a study that concluded that the lake level here had nothing to do with the boating industry. I think it has everything to do with it,” Twe said Friday. As long as the water level is stable, even if it’s not quite at full pool, business is up. If it’s not, people stay away.”

Tew said he’s been “seeing a lot more boat traffic and interest” since Hartwell reached full pool level in 2013, when the area endured one of its coolest and wettest summers. Boat sales are up significantly from the low-level years of 2011 and 2012.

“In this business, you want it to rain during the week and stay sunny on the weekends,” Tew said.

Friday’s 658.6-foot level is ideal for this time of the year, Tew said.

“The lake is supposed to fluctuate by three to four feet a year,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be slap full all summer. Those years when it was down 15 feet, people don’t want to be boating. Once it gets down by 10 feet, people should be concerned.”

An unusually wet winter is helping the current lake level.

“Those rains more than filled the reservoirs and saturated soils to capacity,” Billy Birdwell, a spokesman for the Savannah District of the Army Corps of Engineers, said Friday.

“Although spring rainfall has been below normal, inflows remained high for much of the spring because of the saturated soils,” he said. “Although we are seeing indicators the ground is dry, our professional water managers continue to maintain stable levels as much as possible by using the pump-back capability at Russell Dam.”

“As of today, all Corps reservoirs on the Savannah River are less than 2 feet down from full summer pool,” Birdwell said. “That’s very good considering the months of low rainfall we have experienced. We predict the reservoirs will have plenty of water for the long Independence Day weekend for recreation.”

Follow Abe Hardesty on Twitter @abe_hardesty


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John Kerry unloading yacht that made waves

The 76-foot luxury yacht Isabel — the tony tub that sailed Secretary of State John Kerry into stormy political seas a few years ago when the Track revealed that he and his wife had dodged a $437,500 state tax bill on their swanky $7 million sailboat — is up for sale.

Kerry and the missus, ketchup heiress 
Teresa Heinz, listed the New Zealand-built Friendship sloop for a mere 
$4 million with luxury yacht brokers Northrop Johnson in Newport, R.I. — some $3 million less than they paid for it back in 2010.

“Boats do depreciate very, very quickly,” said a source with knowledge of the sale.

Kerry, who was in Oslo, Norway, attending a dinner for the foreign minister, declined to comment on the sale through a spokesman. An attorney for the Heinz family didn’t return a call or email. We’re guessing the duo would rather not rehash the political shipwreck that was the Isabel in 2010.

That was when the Track revealed that Kerry had ported the yacht in Newport — even painting the Rhode Island sailing haven’s name on the boat’s stern — thus avoiding a six-figure sales tax bill from the cash-strapped commonwealth of Mass.

Rhode Island had repealed its boat sales and use tax back in 1993, making the tiny state a haven — like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Nassau — for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners.

Local and national press hounded Kerry for four full days after the revelation, as the then-senator bobbed, weaved and dodged the question over whether he would pony up to the Bay State. Kerry had insisted that he chose to keep the boat in Rhode Island for “maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes.”

But under Mass. tax laws, if Kerry and the missus used the boat in state, they would be liable for a use tax, equal to the sales tax, and the boat had been spotted in their summer home port of Nantucket and on Martha’s Vineyard.

Finally, after an unprecedented pounding in the press, Kerry announced he and Teresa were cutting a check to the state Department of Revenue.

The Isabel, which has spent nearly every summer in Nantucket ever since, is the second piece of the island the Heinz-Kerrys will be jettisoning. The summer manse on Hulbert Avenue, where the couple has vacationed for more than two decades, is also on the market.

The house is owned by Heinz’s three sons, having been left to them by her late husband, John, who died in a plane crash in 1991. Teresa and her late first husband purchased the home for a mere $1.2 million back in 1982; it is on the market now for $25 million. Kerry and Teresa were married there in 1995.

According to an island source, the Heinz-Kerrys are likely to buy another home on the island that is “more private” than the Hulbert Avenue estate. The source also revealed that the couple is in the market for a new and bigger motorized yacht.

“When you get to a certain age, sailing becomes more difficult,” said the source.

Heinz, who has not been in the best of health in recent years — she was treated for breast cancer in 2009 and suffered a seizure in 2013, spending three weeks at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital — reportedly wants a boat that will be easier for her to get around in.

As for the Isabel, it boasts an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and “voluminous interior spaces, masterfully crafted to create a sense of living in a “fine furniture environment,” according to the listing.

“Isabel fulfills all expectations of elegant style, with a classic profile that turns heads in every port,” the listing continues. “A powerful rig that serves up exhilarating performance and a sail-plan that is engineered to be fully managed from the helm. On deck and below, the detailing aboard Isabel is sublime. … She is indeed, a perfect blend of form and function.”

File Under: Anchors Away.


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NMMA reports 7 percent jump in 2015 boat sales

Posted on June 13th, 2016


Estimated new recreational boat sales increased 7.4 percent in 2015 to 243,600 units and marine expenditures reached an eight-year high of $35.9 billion.

The following segments led growth during the year — jetboats, which were up 25.7 percent; personal watercraft, up 14.6 percent; inboard ski/ wakeboard boats, up 9.9 percent; and outboard boats, up 7.6 percent.

Together these segments accounted for 92.4 percent of new-boat sales, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which released data on total industry sales by category and state.

Driven by the volatile less-than-20-foot segment, sailboat sales dropped 25.3 percent in 2015, falling to 5,600 units and returning to levels consistent with historical trends.

Sterndrive boat sales continue to lag and were down 7.2 percent in 2015.

Total recreational marine expenditures reached an eight-year high of $35.9 billion in 2015, up 2.2 percent from 2014. The moderate increase reflects a 26 percent drop in fuel prices, the NMMA said.

Spending on new boats accounted for $11.5 billion of the total and was up 6.9 percent from 2014. The used-boat market accounted for $8.9 billion of total expenditures, up 3.4 percent from 2014.

Florida led all states in new-boat spending. Consumers in Florida spent $2.6 billion on new powerboats, engines, trailers and aftermarket accessories in 2015.

Texas, Michigan, Minnesota and New York, in that order, rounded out the top five.


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Boat sales show double-digit gains in 1Q

Posted on June 13th, 2016
Written by Jack Atzinger


Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Boosted by the strongest March results since 2008, the recreational boating industry posted double-digit first-quarter sales gains, including two segments that sold nearly 10,000 boats.

Sales in the main powerboat segments rose 10.7 percent to 29,362 and they climbed 10.4 percent to 40,783 industrywide from the same quarter last year in 48 states that represent 95 percent of the U.S. boating market, Statistical Surveys said today.

The report excludes only Maine and Wisconsin. Maine reports sales annually at the end of the year and Wisconsin was not included because of data entry delays.

The quarter ended with March results that were surprisingly strong. Sales soared 21.3 percent in the main segments and 19.9 percent industrywide. Every category in the main segments showed a double-digit gain.

“I think what you’re seeing is a good early start to the spring selling season,” Statistical Surveys sales director Ryan Kloppe said. “There are a lot of positive numbers in [the first-quarter report] and only a few negative numbers.”

Outboard fiberglass boats from 11 to 50 feet were the top-selling category in the industry for the quarter. Sales of 9,933 boats were up 9.2 percent from a year earlier.

Aluminum pontoon boats had the highest percentage gain among the main segments’ high-volume categories — 17.4 percent to 6,049 boats. Aluminum fishing boat sales finished right behind fiberglass outboards in volume at 9,847. Sales in the category were up 8.5 percent from the same quarter last year, and Kloppe said they will be even higher when results from Wisconsin, where fishing is popular, are included.

The 14- to 30-foot inboard and sterndrive category, which has struggled in recent years, had a moderate gain of 3.9 percent to 1,760 boats.

In the lower-volume, bigger-boat categories, sales of 41- to 65-foot yachts rose by 46 to 228, but sales of 31- to 40-foot cruisers fell by eight to 269 and sales of custom and semicustom yachts 66 feet and larger dropped by four to 35.

Sales of personal watercraft rose 12.7 percent to 5,517 units. The category ranked fourth in sales behind outboard fiberglass and aluminum pontoon and fishing boats.

Sales of ski and wake boats climbed by 216, or 21.1 percent, to 1,241 and jetboat sales rose by 68, or 10.5 percent, to 718.

Sailboat sales were up by 21, or 4.7 percent, to 471.


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