Fishermen, pontoon-boat buyers and people who are attracted to small to midsize outboard boats have been leading the recreational boating industry’s rebound from the Great Recession. They may be getting some company.

Soundings Trade Only reported that figures for January don’t contradict what has been a two-year trend, but they suggest that some of the bigger-boat categories may be poised to play a larger role in the moderate but steady sales gains the industry has been posting. January is a slow month — typically the third-slowest of the year, after December and November — so the numbers are small, but sales of cruisers and larger yachts all showed improvement as Statistical Surveys reported results today from 30 early-reporting states.

Sales in January rose 9.9% to 3,532 boats in the main powerboat segments, compared with the same month last year, and they rose 9.2% industrywide, to 4,876, in states that represent about 65% of the national market.

“The momentum of sales from last year has definitely carried over and consumer confidence continues to grow,” said Ryan Kloppe, national marine sales manager at Statistical Surveys Inc.

Sales for the month were highest in the 11- to 40-foot outboard fiberglass category, where the gain was 11.4%, to 1,549 boats. Pontoon sales climbed 21%, to 531 boats, and sales of aluminum fishing boats rose 6.2%, to 972.

“Customers continue to set the purchasing trends, telling the industry that pontoons and fiberglass outboards will remain popular segments this year,” Kloppe said. “I was in Miami [for the boat shows] and there was positive buzz around the show regarding new-boat models, new engines and a lot of people buying boats.”

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