New boat sales rise in Missouri, all-time high


After bottoming out in 2009 and 2010, new boat and equipment sales in Missouri have rebounded astonishingly, riding a wave of buying that likely set a record for new boat sales in the state. Last year.

A boater enjoys a sunny day on the water at Table Rock Lake Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Boat sales hit a record high in Missouri last year.

Sales of new boats fell below $200 million in Missouri at the height of the recession, but hit a record $339 million last year, according to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, based in Chicago.

That’s a 9% jump in Missouri sales in one year and represents 5,900 new boats in the state, according to NMMA.

Ed Thomas approaches the bridge in Kimberling City while taking his new 25-foot Malibu speedboat across Table Rock Lake on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Thomas recently purchased the new boat for his kids who love wakeboarding and wakeboarding surf.

Ed Thomas is a good example of why Missouri is now ranked 16th in the nation for new boat sales.

He works for the company that produces Learjets and owns a second home in Table Rock Lake. As his two youngsters grew, Thomas bought bigger and bigger boats through Springfield boat dealership The Ski Shack – five boats so far.

On Memorial Day, Thomas picked up his newest and largest boat – a sleek 25-foot Malibu inboard specifically designed for wakeboarding and wake surfing.

These are water sports that her 16 and 20 year olds love to do on the clean, calm waters of Table Rock Lake.

“As our kids grew and grew, they wanted to do more,” Thomas said, during a quick spin on the lake in his $160,000 Malibu. “We have worked hard to create an environment where our children want to be with us.”

Mike and Vicky Bouchard of Manassas, Va. bought an invisible tri-toon boat from MarineMax on Table Rock Lake and will keep it in a slip at their retirement home in Shell Knob.

Mike and Vicky Bouchard of Manassas, Va., also helped drive Missouri boat sales to an all-time high.

They are ready to retire and are considering buying a place at the Lake of the Ozarks. But they chose Table Rock Lake instead because it’s cleaner and calmer than the Lake of the Ozarks, known for its party atmosphere and big wakes from huge cruisers during the summer boating months.

They bought a lakeside home at Shell Knob on Table Rock and bought a tri-toon Crest (a three-hulled pontoon boat) sight unseen from MarineMax at Indian Point Marina.

“We went to a boat show in Fredericksburg, Virginia to get an idea of ​​what we wanted in Table Rock,” Vicky Bouchard said. “We asked a lot of questions, looked at how the boats were made. We looked at a lot of used boats online, but this will probably be the very last boat we buy. We didn’t want to buy someone’s headache. another so we bought it new.”

Their next adventure will be to drive from Virginia to see their $30,000 boat for the first time at MarineMax, get inspected there, and then cruise their new ship to a slip waiting at their Shell Knob Lake home.

Vicky Bouchard had no qualms buying the boat without even setting foot in it.

“The people at MarineMax were very good,” she said. “It was probably too easy a process, that’s probably why we own a boat!”

Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Marketers Association, said boat sales are expected to remain strong through 2019.

Missouri is representative of what’s happening nationally, according to Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

According to the NMMA, the sale of new boats, marine products and services reached $36 billion nationwide in 2016, an increase of 3.2% over 2015. Approximately 247,800 new motorboats were sold in 2016, up 6% on 2015.

New sailboats saw their sales increase by 16% last year, thanks to a 23.4% increase in the category “20 feet or less”.

And it’s not just new boats that are sailing lots and dealer slips. According to NMMA, 981,600 used boats – valued at $9.2 billion – were sold in 2016, up 2% from the previous year.

“We believe this trend will continue through 2018 and into 2019,” Dammrich said. “The economy is strengthening. Consumer confidence is 13% higher than it has been in recent years. New home sales are increasing. All of these things are strongly correlated with new boat sales.”

Dammrich said special boats designed for wakeboarding and wake surfing continue to be hot sellers, despite their relatively high price (compared to smaller ski boats).

And aluminum-hulled pontoon boats, with comfortable seating for large numbers of people, modern digital instrument panels, fuel-efficient engines and features designed to appeal to anglers, continue to grow in sales, a he declared.

Greg Mustain is the owner of The Ski Shack in Springfield.

That’s certainly true at The Ski Shack in Springfield, according to owner Greg Mustain.

“We’ve added a line of pontoon boats which have been very popular,” Mustain said. “The technology of these boats has changed. It’s not your grandfather’s boat that can only go 20 miles an hour. You can ski behind them.”

But Ski Shack’s most popular sellers are purpose-built wakeboard/wake surf boats.

“We’re really lucky,” Mustain said. “What was once a small segment of the market has really grown rapidly as people learn how much fun wakeboarding and wake surfing is.”

Although the economy began to slump in 2007, Mustain said his boat sales hit a low point in 2009 and 2010, reflected by declining new boat sales elsewhere in the state over those years. years.

Although the Midwest hasn’t seen the kind of economic fluctuations that other parts of the country have been facing, he said many people still have that “fear factor” about economic uncertainty and have delayed the purchase of new boats in 2009-2010.

“It was almost impossible to sell a new boat back then,” he said. “But consumer confidence has changed and the economic outlook is more optimistic than it was a year ago.”

Like his customers, Mustain was so confident that boat sales would pick up that he opened a new Ski Shack store in Shell Knob, and also added a cable-powered wakeboard lake to the back of his Springfield store, where visitors can get a feel for wakeboarding before trying it on a boat for the first time.

Optimism also reigns at the MarineMax dealership in Indian Point. On Tuesday, general manager Terry Perciful was checking on the progress of the newest boat the dealership received — an $884,000 Sea Ray Sundancer 400 with the last bits of shrink tape stripped off as it floated in the dealership slip.

Perciful doesn’t think he’ll struggle to sell the 40ft luxury yacht, which features air conditioning, a wide aft adjustable swim platform, berths for up to six people and state-of-the-art thrusters that let the skipper move the boat back and forth and side to side, making docking easier.

“I have a list of about 30 people who have bought big boats from us before and might be interested in this one,” Perciful said. “We will make invitations for them to come and see the boat.”

Perciful said it sold a 52ft Sea Ray last year. At Table Rock Lake, boaters seek comfort and a good way to enjoy their lifestyle.

“Two-foot-itis” – the lure of having just a little bigger boat – certainly holds true for many of her buyers.

“I see it often,” Perciful said. “People will keep their boat for two or three years and then move on to something bigger. It’s the same as motorhome owners. They will keep it for a few years and then evolve as their needs change. will change.”

MarineMax and the Ski Shack don’t just sell new boats. Used boats and brokerage boats are also part of their business, although both said it was difficult to keep used boats on their grounds as they sell out so quickly.

The influx of new boats on Table Rock Lake has had a ripple effect on the economy of the lake. Fuel sales are up. More homes are under construction, and if they come with a coveted water slide, a new boat should soon fill that space.

At the Indian Point Floating Cafe, where boaters can park at one of the cafe’s 10 slides and grab a bite to eat, owner Andi Mitchell said she’s noticed an increase in new boats on the lake.

“Boat traffic has increased tremendously – our 10 locations are full all the time during our season,” Mitchell said. “A lot of boaters have become regular customers. We have a couple who come regularly, but we didn’t recognize them at first because they arrived with a brand new boat!”

After a sharp decline during the recession, boat sales jumped to $339 million in Missouri last year.

Who sells the most boats?

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, here are the top 10 states for new boat sales in 2016:

1. Florida: $2.5 billion, up 5% from 2015
2. Texas: $1.4 billion, up 5% from 2015
3. Michigan: $868 million, up 9% from 2015
4. Minnesota: $710 million, up 9% from 2015
5. North Carolina: $689 million, up 11% from 2015
6. New York: $688 million, up 14% from 2015
7. Wisconsin: $622 million, up 9% from 2015
8. California: $615 million, up 15% from 2015
9. Georgia: $551 million, up 11% from 2015
10. South Carolina: $544 million, up 10% from 2015

Ranked 16th, Missouri posted $339 million in revenue, up 9% from 2015.

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