Boat sales are back in a big way

20080627-173841-pic-90777257_5695367_ver1.0_640_480It’s hard to beat boat sales as an indicator of luxury spending.

Boats are typically expensive to buy, expensive to maintain, and expensive to use. In short, owning a boat is a great way to dispose of disposable income.

With the exception of live-aboards, maritime professionals and remote island dwellers, very few boat owners can claim to really need their boats.

Like sales of many other luxury goods, boat sales took a dive during the recession. Droves of underwater boat owners literally walked away from their vessels.

20070619-190929-pic-800119525_5727290_ver1.0_640_480Now the boating industry is rising from the depths. Boat sales seemed to turn a corner in 2013, as I noted  in a story a couple of springs ago.

Sales continued to grow during the past two years, likely buoyed by the improving economy, falling gas prices and long, hot summers.

Puget Sound Business Journal reported this week that more than a quarter of Washington households own a boat, and sales in the state jumped 24 percent in 2015.

harbor3_18647849_ver1.0_640_480We don’t have access to boat sales as a dollar amount here in Kitsap, but we do know how many vessels were sold to people who keep their boats in the county, thanks to data from Washington Sea Grant and the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

By their count, total boat sales for Kitsap increased 21 percent between 2010 (when activity bottomed out) and 2015. The rebound of new boats sales was more dramatic, jumping 102 percent over the same period.

New vessels accounted for 12 percent of Kitsap boat sales in 2015. The data include all power boats and sailboats with titles (so no kayaks or paddle boards).

Here’s a graphic showing boat sales for Kitsap since 2009:

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