Boating registration for the first quarter of 2019 was down 7.1 percent compared to first quarter 2018 but is up 3.2 percent on a rolling 12-month basis. The data comes from Statistical Surveys Inc., a survey firm that tracks boat, RV, and powersport registration all over the country.
According to the data, boating is not the only recreational market to take a dip; RV registration was down 7 percent and powersports were down 5 percent. Last year was one of the best for RVs, breaking the record for new retail registrations. The dip is an expected occurrence, as not every year is likely to break records. In boating, the subcategories of ski and wake have bucked trends by continuing to see year-to-year growth of 2.9 percent and 9.6 percent growth on a rolling 12-month basis. Another strong category was custom and semi-custom yachts over 66 feet, which was up 17.2 percent over first quarter last year.
Outboard-powered boats were down 5.8 percent, but still up 1.2 percent on a rolling basis. Personal water craft were up 4.2 percent compared to last year, and up 9.8 percent on a rolling basis. Statistical Surveys has collected data from 48 states, and North and South Carolina were up, as well as New Jersey, Tennessee, and Connecticut, a state that recently reduced its boat tax by about half. Illinois and Maine were not included in this quarter’s data. Maine is currently working to switch over to quarterly reports rather than the annual report system.