SAN DIEGO, September 9, 2014 – Economists have a great fondness for the saying, “A rising tide raises all boats” to describe an improving economy. The idea is that overall improvements will benefit all participants in that economy. As our post recession economy continues to improve, this saying is being used frequently.
What many people don’t know is that the saying can be attributed to President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy used it in a 1963 speech to defend a dam project he was inaugurating.
Fitting then to have one of New England’s most prominent historical figures set the stage for this month’s upcoming 44th annual Newport International Boat Show from Thursday, September 11 through Sunday, September 14, where this rising economic tide is raising the fortunes of a powerful American industry, recreational boating.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the $35 billion U.S. recreational boating industry closed 2013 with a five percent increase in new powerboat retail sales, and another similar growth year is forecast for 2014. It’s proof American consumer confidence is rebounding and investing more in boating, one of the nation’s most popular pastimes.
There is no better example than the performance of Beneteau America, one of the world’s largest boat manufacturers and one of the largest exhibitor at this year’s Newport show. Beneteau America will feature 16 powerboats and sailboats at the show, growing their presence at the show fifty percent in 2014.
The Beneteau brand is represented by one of the largest dealers in the area and one of the largest and highest volume dealers in the country, Cape Yachts. Its dealerships in South Dartmoth, Massachusetts, Port Washington, New York, and Essex, Connecticut have been in business for 30 years in the Northeastern U.S. Cape Yachts joins several other Beneteau regional dealers including Prestige Yacht Sales, Great Hudson Sailing Center and Willis Marine supplying boat models at this year’s show.
Beneteau boat sales worldwide were up 3.3% for the nine months through May 2014, with most of the growth coming from North American sales, up 39% in this time period.
Beneteau’s big buzz builder this year is making its show debut at Newport: the dazzling luxury yacht, the Oceanis 38, recently named “European Yacht of the Year.” For the biggest dreamers, this beautiful sailboat features a completely customizable design according to the owner’s needs, whether as a day sailer, weekender, or cruiser. The appointments are first quality including a kitchen anyone would be happy to have in their own home.
If you like something with a little more bite, Beneteau offers the launch of two power boats, the Monte Carlo 5 and the Barracuda 7. The Monte Carlo 5 won Europe Power Boat of the Year. The Barracuda 7 is making its American premiere at the Newport Show – its sister boat, Barracuda 9, won the “Newport for New Product” award at the show in 2012.
“The Newport Boat Show is the first show of the season and is one of the largest in-water boat shows in the country. Unsurprisingly, we intend to start our season off strong,” said Maryline O’Shea, marketing director for Beneteau America. “Our entire Beneteau team is looking forward to the 2014 boat show.”
Across the boating industry, the sales of boats 30 feet and longer have been flat in sales, with the exception of Beneteau America, enjoying sales growth in this category of 20 percent annually over the last three years.
However, the vast majority of boat sales aren’t to investment bankers and rap stars buying luxury yachts. Smaller fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats under 26 feet increased sales 6.7 percent; ski and wakeboard boats saw an 11.7 increase in sales. Boats in this size category cover 95 percent of the boats currently on the water. Three-quarters of all boat owners have a household income of less than $100,000.
To continue its growth in the U.S. market, Beneteau American recently acquired Michigan based RecBoats in June of this year, which builds motorboats 40 feet and under.
“Beneteau America is successful by combining superior products and designs with the investment our company makes into our business,” added O’Shea. “We invest in the newest technology and in new products for the market. Because of this, nearly one-third of our sales are of products less than 12 months old, a significant number in the boating industry and for an investment of this kind.”
So after several years of being underwater, people now have the confidence to stick a toe in the water, attend a boat show and see what manufacturers like Beneteau have to offer.
It’s incredible to have the chance to get up close to these boats, the same kind of thrill as sitting in a Ferrari at an auto show. But just like at an auto show, the Newport International Boat Show offers an ideal opportunity to look at something you can aspire to bring home. Surprsingly, many do. Twenty to thirty percent of Beneteau America’s regional business is driven by boat show attendees.
Even if you’re not in the market, or simply want to admire the incredible craftsmanship and innovative new features on the big-ticket boats, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big at the Newport International Boat Show and enjoying a little piece of the boating lifestyle for yourself for the small price of a ticket.
The Newport International Boat Show runs Thursday, September 11 through Sunday, September 14. You can also visit Beneteau America at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland October 9 through October 12 and at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show October 30 through November 3.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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