Things are Picking Up in the Boating Business!

With all the horrible and negative news we run across every day, and have been for a while, there’s a glimmer of things picking up in the world of boating. It’s been a long time coming, but there is evidence that things are getting better.

Everybody knows of the disasters the marine industry has seen, there are headlines galore over the past couple of years chronicling it – just ask and I’ll send a bunch!  And how much fun has it been to fill up the gas tank on your boat recently? Folks are worried about their jobs, their spouse’s job, their boss’s job, where’s the money going to come from? As one of the ultimate leisure activities, boating is one of the first things to go when times get (or threaten to get) tough.

So I notice last week that the assets of the Hunter Marine Group – many venerable names in the marine business such as Hunter sailboats, Luhrs, Silverton, and Mainship powerboats – were successfully sold out of of their bankruptcy proceedings. That the creditors didn’t object to the asset sales tells me that the price was considered fair. Now that I think about it (in order to write this!), the buyers of those assets have invested quite a bit into these assets, and have committed to continuing the manufacture and sale of these branded boats.

I get e-newsletters every day that used to be called “trade rags” back when they were on paper. But the series of industry stories in them has been getting brighter nearly every day. Just today, it was noted that Maverick Boats, makers of Maverick, Hewes, Pathfinder and Cobia boats, has increased production yet again, effectively doubling where they were a year ago. Not only is this good news for the Maverick people, they’ve also hired a bunch more folks to make all these boats, a story we don’t hear too often these days.

To get a little deeper into it, we visit Wall Street analysts who keep their eyes on public companies to see if their stock or bonds are worth investing in. Brunswick Corporation, the worlds largest manufacturer of boats and motors, recently had very favorable investment opinions reiterated by some major investment companies, citing their increased market share (as smaller manufacturers either close or Brunswick buys them!) and a stronger-than-expected boating business. To me, this reflects very well on the overall market.

All of which is to say, it’s an exciting time to be anywhere near boating! There are new products coming out all the time, and it seems the wallets of those looking to get into the lifestyle are cracking open a bit. It’s still mighty competitive out there, and buyers have many new tools to use to help them get the most out of their dollars (such as!), so it’s possible there’s more shakeout to come, but we’re mighty excited to be part of the big comeback!  We hope you’re a part of it too!


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