“Record-setting boat sales” is what we heard from many boat dealers who exhibited at the Detroit Boat Show and the Novi Boat Show this year. As a lakefront property owner, you may also have attended one, or both of these shows and can attest to the draw that pulled these folks off the fence from lookers to buyers. The draw is true innovation and timing.
Innovation is everywhere within our industry today. Not only related to boats, but also to supporting products and services. 2017 new model boat introductions at the shows included features which continue to enhance functionality, improve performance, and facilitate enjoyment while boating. Everything from greater connectivity to joystick docking systems, comfortable social zones to high tech performance features, retractable sun roofs to one-touch boat cover systems and so much more. These innovations and features impressed the crowds and made it easy for current boat owners and first-time buyers to make the purchase.
Boat manufacturers continue to get it right – fully understanding what boaters are looking for. Center console fishing boats are now offering family day boating comfort features without sacrificing the hardcore fishing features demanded by fisherman. Pontoon boats continue to make available cool add-ons such as bars, grills, slides, toilets, and changing rooms. Large boat manufacturers are creating “Social Zones” creating added floor space and seating to maximize the number of people onboard to share the fun. Ski and wake boat innovations continue to reshape the industry including key fobs and watches allowing the person being towed to control of the boat speed, shape of the wake and the volume of the music. One personal watercraft manufacturer has redesigned its PWC to allow riders to do tricks previously only performed by the pros. No matter what the boat type, it seems all manufacturers continue to bring features that make boating easier, safer, and more enjoyable than ever.
Michigan has experienced six consecutive years of growth for new boat sales, and is predicted to continue in that direction for at least the next two. Low fuel prices and interest rates are helping as is the strong housing market and the availability of retail loans. Also helping is the availability of more entry level boats, and the fact that boats can be financed much longer than cars. Boats qualify for 2nd home mortgage interest deductions, and Michigan still has an important law on the books that allows boat buyers to pay sales tax only on the difference between the value of the trade in boat and the new boat being purchased.
2017 brings a lot of great reasons to buy a boat. If you weren’t one of the buyers at this year’s boat shows, visit your local dealer and ask what’s new in boating. You will be amazed, you will be excited, and you will be tempted to join the ranks of boat buyers in 2017.
See you on the water,