Recreational boating is on the rebound in Fort Lauderdale and the rest of Florida, perhaps proof that the economy is finally recovering. Easily one of the biggest discretionary purchases for anyone, powerboats and yachts have been a steadily increasing industry for years and smaller boat sales have returned to pre-recession levels.
There are a few factors behind this growth and economic boost, depending on who you are listening to. Experts and financial analysts believe this uptick is directly correlated to the stabilization of the stock market and increased trading. According to them the increase in disposable income as well as falling oil prices have created the perfect environment for increased sales.
Some members of the boating industry seem to believe that the combination of increased customer confidence as well improved labor conditions have brought back the specialized niche market. They point to decreased pricing and improved materials and features as catalysts that have sparked the rejuvenation of boating in Florida.
Whatever the reasons behind the growth, the quantifiable results are undeniable. Whether it’s a fiberglass luxury yacht or single man pontoon, there’s little doubt that boat sales have returned. According to recent sales figures, major powerboat numbers rose 7 percent just in Florida alone.
The fertile offshore waters of Florida have returned sport fishing to prominence in the area, something that’s highlighted at the Miami International Boat Show and the luxury-oriented Yacht and Brokerage Show on Miami Beach every year.
Serving as the mecca of luxury boating and sport boating, thousands of vendors, manufacturers and buyers converge on Miami Beach for the annual event. Featuring thousands of boats and boating accessories, the event also highlights the most innovative products for the sport fisherman.
One of the biggest boating shows in America, the International Boat Show has something for everyone to enjoy. But this growth isn’t isolated to the sunny shores of Florida alone, because Americans bought 6 percent more boats in data collected from across 46 states in 2014.
It’s in stark contrast to the big-ticket industry that had suffered greatly during the recession. Rocked by dipping sales that fell more than 65% from their pre-recession high mark, the boating industry became stagnant over the years.
Done in by the struggling economy and owners holding onto their existing vessels, the sharp downturn of demand hurt the perspective pool of buyers. Recovering from these conditions and now more poised than ever to capitalize on the future, the boating industry as a whole has come a long way since then.
Determining just how much the boating industry is contributing to the nation’s overall economy is difficult according to most experts. Citing the gross national product, many organizations such as NMMA notes that boat sales perform well when the annualized growth is over 3 percent, which is has in the last quarter of 2014.
While the role of this resurgence has yet to be determined in the nationwide economic perspective, what is undeniable is the growth within the industry. According to most projections, the boating industry has beaten their projected earnings over 20 percent from a year ago. This kind of real economic growth is imperative if the US economy is to ever rebound from the recession.
Despite this however there are still many challenges that face the boating industry, because the strength of the US dollar seems to be cutting into their international sales. With the increase in features and innovative concepts in today’s modern boats and yachts it’s only a matter of time before international competition begins to make changes of their own.
Still it’s a promising sign from Florida, where brokers report that business is booming from small boat to the super luxury cruisers and yachts. The luxury yacht has certainly evolved to become the centerpiece of the Miami coastline.
New features and build concepts like silent fiberglass hull types and luxurious deck layouts make the yacht a truly luxurious way to fish offshore. New and used yacht brokers are springing up all over Miami to help perspective buyers find the best yacht for their hard earned dollar.
These brokers are taking their business a step further, by offering many different upgrade packages as well. Combining their boats with customized packages and different features such as convertible sky decks or multiple floor plan designs, the new boating enthusiast has a keen eye towards luxury and fine living.
Whether the boating boom in Florida will lead the charge to restoring the economy in America has yet to be seen, but its effect is without a doubt a great sign.