Preliminary figures show that more than 263,000 new boats were sold in 32 early-reporting states in 2017 as the recreational boating industry put even more distance between itself and the Great Recession.

Soundings Trade Only reported that Statistical Surveys Inc. said today (Jan. 18) that 263,213 boats were sold in those states, a 3.8% increase from 2016. The states represent about 59% of the U.S. market.

Ryan Kloppe, Statistical Surveys’ sales director, said the remaining 18 states could add as many as 6,000 boats, which would bring the final total to about 269,000. The industry sold 258,879 boats in all 50 states in 2016, and that marked the first time in eight years that more than 250,000 were sold.

Kloppe said 50-state figures, which will be released in March, probably will show that 2017 sales were up about 4%. Industry forecasts were for an increase of 4% to 6%.

For the full story click here.