NMMA president talks about the state of the industry

Published online: Feb 12, 2010 News Beth Rosenburg -- Trade Only Today
Viewed 310 time(s)

MIAMI BEACH - There's no question 2009 was a difficult year for the marine industry and, while challenges remain, boating is alive and well. That was the message from Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, in his annual state of the industry address at the Miami International Boat Show.

Sales were down about 28 percent from 2008, but that's actually higher than had been expected, with between 145,000 and 150,000 units sold at retail. That figure, Dammrich said, is expected to be flat this year, but the good news is that manufacturers will have to ramp up production to meet the demand.

Through 1991, the industry sold about 400,000 new boats annually. That figure dropped to around 300,000 through the mid-2000s and now stands at around 150,000.

"I think most of us believe the industry will rebound, although it's going to take time and it will not happen quickly. But no one knows where the new normal will be," Dammrich said. "Will we get back to 300,000 units a year or will the new normal be something less?"

Challenges facing the industry include:

  • New boats will cost more as new emissions requirements take effect, including for the 2011 model year, when the industry must add catalytic converters.
  • Floorplanning for dealers is expected to remain difficult to obtain, though the availability of retail credit appears to be easing.
  • Unemployment remains high.
  • The industry has lost a lot of talent in the labor pool with the layoff of thousands of skilled workers.

"The government continues to take actions and keep our Washington, D.C., staff very busy doing things that certainly aren't intended to make our lives easier or us more successful in the boating industry," Dammrich said.

However, there are some positive indicators for the industry - an uptick in auto and RV sales, for example.

"That seems to indicate to me that in the next couple of months, particularly as we enter the height of the selling season for the boating industry, we should see some increase in the sale of new boats," Dammrich said.

There are 17 million boats in use in the United States and 70 million adult Americans go boating each year.

"That's a tremendous installed base and a clear signal that boating is not going away," he said. "I think we've got a great future ahead. We've got some challenging times still to get through, but we will get through them and this industry will prosper again."

You May Also Be Interested In...

April 01, 2015

California Fishing-License Purchases Are Dropping

If fishing is your game, you might want to take the luring call of California lakes with a grain of salt.
March 30, 2015

The Mini Bike Is Back!

The Downtube Mini Shimano Nexus 8SP Folding Bike has answered the call of demand and is back on the market!
March 25, 2015

Restored To Her Glory

If you’re interested in restoration stories, you don’t want to miss this one—which involves a little history lesson to boot.
March 19, 2015

Why You Should Keep Your Smoke Alarms Up To Date

If you want to hear a good argument for keeping your smoke alarms up to date onboard, check out this man’s story according to Cambridge News.
March 11, 2015

Unmanned Houseboat Drifts 165 Miles

You’ve heard of runaway dogs, but have you ever heard of a runaway houseboat?
March 04, 2015

Lake Norris Update: Twin Cove Marina Is Seeing Great Progress

In an admiral show of resilience and dedication, the heavy winter damage at Twin Cove Marina, Carryville, Tenn., is already being tackled by cleanup crews.
Follow us on Facebook!   Follow us on Instagram!   Follow us on Pinterest!   Follow us on YouTube!