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Boat sales expected to increase in 2014

Boat sales are projected to increase in 2014.

More people may be hoisting sails this summer, as the National Marine Manufactures Association said the high level of boat sales from 2013 will carry over into 2014. Retail expenditures, which include new and pre-owned boats, trailers, accessories and services, in 2013 totaled $36.7 billion, a 3.2 percent increase from 2012. Approximately 166,800 new sailboats and powerboats were sold in 2013, a 2.2 percent rise from the previous year.

With an increase in all major sectors of boating sales, the NMMA predicts a 5 to 7 percent increase in retail sales in 2014. Thom Dammrich, NMMA president, said as the economy improves and summer boating activity begins to ramp up, it is natural to assume sales will increase.

"Following a year of inclement weather throughout the U.S. driving pent-up demand and Americans taking to the water in record numbers, the industry is primed for a busy selling season," Dammrich said.

Dammrich went on to say that manufacturers are producing more boat options for consumers at a wide range of prices.

"We're seeing manufacturers shift their manufacturing processes, becoming leaner and more efficient, to be able to offer these innovative boats at a lower cost, in turn introducing more people to boating," said Dammrich.

The 2014 predictions are high, but Statistical Survey, Inc., reported that sales during the first quarter of 2014 did not meet expectations. The market intelligence company reported that sales across the entire industry grew 2.5 percent during the first quarter of 2014. The report only included data from 48 states, as Hawaii and Maine only report sales once a year.

Ryan Kloppe, national marine sales manager for Statistical Surveys, said the weather during the beginning of the year may have dampened sales a bit, but he feels that buying will pick up in the summer.