Boat Dealers

SIC 5551

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of new and used motorboats and other watercraft, marine supplies, and outboard motors.

Industry Snapshot

At the end of the first decade of the 2000s the boating industry suffered from a economic recession that resulted in declines in consumer spending, especially for luxury items and nonessentials. The number of new boats sold dropped 16 percent to 704,820 units during 2008. Sales of new boats and engines generated $11.2 billion, down 22 percent from the previous year. Sales were down across the board, including inboard and outboard power boats, jet boats, stern-drive boats, sailboats, kayaks, and canoes. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), net profits through October 2008 were down nearly 59 percent compared to October 2007. Added to a recession were record-high fuel prices, leading to an increase of consumer "boat share," in which multiple owners share the use of a single boat and slip. Although sales of new boats were down in both 2009 and 2010, with 1.11 million power and sail boats sold in 2010 (not including canoes and kayaks), by 2011 the industry was beginning to see a recovery. According to the NMMA's Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, in 2010 there were an estimated 17 million boats in use, and 75 million Americans--or 32 percent of the population--participated in recreational boating, representing an increase of 14 percent from the previous year. By 2011 revenues generated by U.S. boat dealers were valued at approximately $16 billion.

The boating industry is seasonal, with 75 percent of revenues from new boat sales coming during the first two quarters of the year. May, June, and July are the peak of the boating season. Florida led all states in boating revenues, and more than 36 percent of establishments in the industry were in the southeast United States. The top 20 states generated some 70 percent of all sales. Nearly 95 percent of all boats registered in the United States were 26 feet or less in length, suggesting that most boaters own entry-level boats that fit on trailers.

Boat dealers in the United States are, for the most part, independent retailers. Although a retailer may choose to feature a particular manufacturer's boat, dealerships are not controlled or owned by that manufacturer. The industry is highly fragmented, with the top 50 companies accounting for less than 30 percent of revenues in 2011. Clearwater, Florida-based MarineMax, a publicly held company founded in 1998, was the nation's largest dealer, with 55 stores in 20 states and $481 million in revenue in 2011. About 50 percent of revenues were generated by new boat sales, with the remainder coming from used boats, engines, service, and other business sectors within the company. West Marine Inc., located in Watsonville, California, was the nation's top boating supply retailer, offering more than 60,000 boating products and reporting sales of $622.8 million in 2011. Boaters' World Discount Marine Centers of Austin, Texas, was another leading supplier of boats and boating accessories.

Research firm IBISWorld reported that from 2006 to 2010, the economic recession caused revenues in the boating industry to drop almost 7 percent annually, mainly because demand for boats and boating equipment was directly related to the health of the economy and consumers' disposable income. However, by 2011 the industry was poised for recovery. According to IBISWorld, "Business is forecast to return gradually � as the economy improves and people begin making discretionary and luxury purchases again." Another positive factor for the industry was the growing population of maturing baby boomers, as those age 40 and over were the most common buyers of boats.

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News and information about Boat Dealers

Boat dealers roll with the changes; Customers' use of the Internet and sales via non-traditional outlets have created a different climate for boat dealers. And they've been forced to make changes to survive.(SPORTS)(Dennis Anderson)
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN); January 20, 2006; 700+ words
...throughout the Midwest. For these and other reasons, boat dealers face challenges today they haven't in the past. Manufacturers...Manufacturers Association are intended to address these. But boat dealers themselves, Steinway said, need to change the way...
New Jersey Boat Dealers Back Clean Engines.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News; February 28, 2003; 700+ words
...EDISON, N.J.--Garden State boat dealers pledged yesterday to sell almost...Jersey, according to EPA data. Boat dealers said yesterday that manufacturers...about $300 more, according to boat dealers. "The smaller engines, which...
Boat dealers hope for buoyancy: Local sales were flat last year.
The Blade (Toledo, OH); April 5, 2007; 700+ words
Byline: Jon Chavez Apr. 5--Recreational boat dealers hope for smoother sailing this year after a year of...shows. Although the auto industry may be a problem for boat dealers in southeast Michigan and the Toledo area, Port Clinton...
Florida Boat Dealers Must Make It Their Business to Check Terrorist List.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News; October 2, 2003; 700+ words
...Herald Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Oct. 2--Boat dealers can get into trouble for not checking the government...Wednesday. Since 1988, vehicle sellers -- car, plane and boat dealers -- have been classified as financial institutions...
New Jersey Boat Dealers Promoting Low-Polluting Engines.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News; February 28, 2003; 700+ words
...Business News Feb. 28--EDISON, N.J.--New Jersey boat dealers are sold on low-polluting, outboard motor boat and promotional help from environmental agencies, boat dealers will push low-polluting engines hard and try to make...
The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI); July 29, 2007; 700+ words
...of the top counties in the state for boat ownership. Boat dealers and marinas are responding by pumping millions of dollars...find waterfront for the dealership. Instead, some boat dealers are looking for spots along busy road corridors. Instead...
Boat dealers hope to net sales at show.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, TN); February 4, 2005; 700+ words
Byline: Rebecca Ferrar Feb. 4--Several years ago, boat dealers Rico Silvera and Steve Sloan were dissatisfied with area boat shows because of what they saw as inadequate advertising, facilities...
Boat dealers anxious to dealThere's plenty of time left to enjoy the lake this season.: COURTNEY CUTRIGHT / The Roanoke Times.
The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA); September 1, 2006; 700+ words exciting time in the boating world. Just as next year's car models are starting to roll into auto showrooms, boat dealers also are looking toward next year, and that can make the last few weeks of summer an excellent time for a boater to...

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