NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (CNBC) - Boat sales are on the rise!
There could be more people heading out on the water now that boat sales are at their highest level since the recession. (Photo Courtesy: NBC)
This might not be a surprise if you saw more crowded waterways over Memorial Day Weekend.
There could be more people heading out on the water now that boat sales are at their highest level since the recession.
And for dealers like Tom Houlaires, the pick up in demand has been keeping him busy.
"Our sales are up around 30 percent over last year," Tom said. "You've got a change in office, you've got the stock market at an all-time high. You've got good job reports."
Sales of powerboats are expected to rise this year and next. However, high-end manufacturers like Boston Whaler aren't counting on mega yachts like these for that growth.
"Overall demand of the yacht segment is a little soft, we've seen it in the industry data in the last three to four quarters," says Brunswick Boat Group President Huw Bower.
The slowdown is being attributed to a stronger dollar, which has helped European competitors. Add to this growing concern from potential buyers that Washington won't be able to pass the tax cuts they're expecting.
Boat manufacturers are facing another challenge - not enough workers. At Boston Whaler's Manufacturing Plant in Florida, boats are made by hand and can take up to four months to complete.
The company says it is having trouble filling open positions because of a lack of skilled workers.
And while industry experts don't expect sales to get back to pre-recession levels, they are optimistic middle market buyers will keep the industry afloat.
"When I look at the overall portfolio, we're seeing strong demand in pontoons 21-25. We're seeing strong demand for that recreational day boat 30-35 feet with more power," Huw said.