There is a flip side to this
Some banks are still financing, Key Bank (one of the biggest high perf lenders of all time) just approved my loan on the fountain. Key bank told me when the bailed on boat loans they shortly realized that the loss they were taking was actually lower that houses, cars and credit cards......they missed the boat market they one had, and are now back in the game.
For me, the prices seem to be a bargin on used boats.....but with no entry to mid level boats in real production (baja, fountain, sonic, donzi, limited formula) you would have to think the used market with stabilize in price.....or climb! What will a guy looking for a 100k used boat have to choose from in 10 years? Maybe your well kept boat that is only worth 80k today.....it could easily happen (ie muscle cars)
I noticed while I searched boats how few were available as compared to years past....I think many are keeping what they have, in fear of not be able to replace it.
It is certainly not easy to finance boats, and I am convinced that is the biggest problem in the industry right now. Not gas! And prices are up because production numbers are down. Think of the factories pumping out the 1000s of boat just ten years ago. If you used to make 500 and now you make 10 do the math, the 29ft single engine but must be sold for $160k to cover overhead.
While I have never been to the Miami boat show, it appears to me anyway, it is similar to a Parade of Homes in an affluent neighborhood. One where homes run well into the 7 figure price range. Nope, not a common mans home, but sure a lot of people looking.
Once you put the word "Performance" in front of any product, the price of entry goes up, justified or not. I agree with the OP's statement about there not being much in the smaller, single-engine segment of the performance market. But as others have stated, that's the market that was hit the worst by the economy. Boating in general is a luxury item, period. If you have to be out on the water, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to do it. If you have to go Fast on the water, in a quality boat? Better have a decent pocketbook. These boats weren't inexpensive last decade, they were simply more available, and easier to get. Tap into your house, borrow out 20 years, whatever. Those days are gone.
With slip costs, truck costs, insurance costs, performance boating is a very expensive hobby. Gasoline costs are somewhere very far down on the list. If it's in your top 3, then boating in general is not a good choice, performance or not.
Boat builders, and dealers, quickly adapted to the realities of the market. They raise prices, lower costs, and live on a higher margin with less volume. They know full well that the largest part of the market is in used boats. Heck, if you look at everyone's boat on this site, it is overwhelmingly older boats, some as far back as the 70's and 80's. Absolutely tremendous rebuilding threads, which go hand in hand with older boats. Also notice the proliferation of new businesses started up to take advantage of this trend, for those without the time or expertise to do the repairs themselves. Heck, many of the engine rebuilds cost more than my entire boat. Hence, I'm not in the market for a performance boat.
I think the lower end of performance boating is firmly in the hands of the everyday family boat makers. If you're not content topping out at 50-60 mph, start saving some bucks. If you want to do that in big water, you'll need a lot more bucks. There's a reason you don't see entry-level performance boats, just as there's a reason you don't see cheaper performance cars. Not much of a market for them. It's a hard sell to the average guy, and the buyer's with bucks don't need to shop at the low end.
I grew up on the water surrounded by, what was then, performance boating. small Checkmate outboards, Magnum missiles, Hydrostreams and the like. Probably the largest on way back then was 18'. Now 28' is considered the small end That size boat used to be considered Rich Boating for the wealthy. If you want something bad enough, you just might get it someday. But the bottom line now is this. If you're not making at least $100k a year, you're not really in this market. Unless you're a good wrencher, and able to find an old boat that needs some TLC. Prices have gone up indeed, but it's fairly meaningless to those that view a $200k and up boat as just a toy they really want. There really aren't any entry-level mansions either, nor inexpensive Porsche's or Lambo's.
Just take pleasure in the fact that, when you're out on a 32' performance boat that you own, the majority of people out there are wondering how wealthy you are to be able to afford such a luxury. That's a nearly $200k boat new? It is all relative. Maybe the guy that just put his new $500k Cig in the water views you as the entry level market, but the guy in the 22' cuddy think you're the rock star. You could probably sell that boat in ten years for more than the Average Joe spent on his new fishing boat.
But no matter what the boat, there will always be a way for many to get out on the water. But it will always be an elite club.
OK, I’ll offer my 2 cents here. First of all, boating in general is not a hobby for everyone. No matter what you buy, you’re doing it for the enjoyment and not the investment. For those of us that love the water, we look at the money we’re obviously throwing away on our boats as well worth it. The vast majority of the population thinks we’re crazy though. Oh well.
First of all, let’s look at the overall market. “Family” boats are produced in higher volumes than performance boats, but are still a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. I remember seeing some numbers that showed GM could produce 100% of the marine industry’s needs for engines in less than one day of normal production. So that means even your most common marine engine is more expensive to produce that the same one in your car. Starting to see why boating is expensive?
When it comes to high performance boating, the ante goes up even more. And since the market is much smaller, the low production volumes mean even higher prices. So we “performance boaters” are a minority of the minority. That means anything we want is about as expensive as it’s going to get.
But let’s get back to the business. I’ve worked in the marine business for over 20 years – at what used to be one of the oldest Fountain dealers in the country. Even in “the good old days” when we always had a few Fountains in stock, they weren’t what paid the bills. Sure, people loved to look at them and they drew traffic in the door, but marinas generally survive on “family” boats. Sure, Crownlines and Benningtons aren’t as sexy, but the majority of boaters love them and they’re great products for the majority of boaters.
But let’s get back to the Miami Boat Show. Miami is a special case. First, there’s lots of money down there – which gets spent on some pretty exotic stuff. Second, you have a high performance boating paradise in the area. Boating just doesn’t get any better than that. One shouldn’t be surprised that lots of high zoot stuff shows up. It reflects that particular market.
But let’s look at the rest of the country and the Boat Shows that the rest of us go to. High performance boats make up but a small portion of what’s at those shows – because they make up a small portion of the sales volume. So I don’t think looking at the Miami Boat Show truly reflects the whole boating industry.
Finally, and unfortunately, when the money dried up a few years ago, the entry level high performance segment was the first thing to go – because it was the most fragile. Does that mean it’s gone forever? I don’t think so. Heck, there are many of us here at OSO right? It’ll come back, but slowly.
Honestly - as a common man I feel I have no place buying a new boat PERIOD - whether it is 500k or or 75k
All new cockpit upholstery same as original, all guages replaced with lavorsi, New cockpit cover, Freshened the 502s, went thru the drives, new 3 axle trailer with mags, discs, torsion etc. Buffed and polished all for under 50K. Get compliments all the time.
anybody here know the meaing of the phrase,,,,,common man means?read all the post,and still havent gotten my ansewer,anybody?if you drink beer does that mean your a common man?the reason i ask,it seems that in some peoples mind,if you own a boat ,any boat,then your a ''rich man'',but in some peoples mind,if you dont own a 75k boat,then your ''a common man.help a guy out.
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