Made in New Zealand: A special report — Page 36 Brokerage sales hit post-recession high — Page 70 July 2013 Vol. LI, No. 1 Needed boost Boat sales gains in 2012 36.4% 29.2% Source: NMMA ® 11.3% 13.4% WWW.TRADEONLYTODAY.COM $ 5.00 Fiberglass/ aluminum Ski/ wakeboard Sailboats Jetboats A ‘scary’ graying of our core market Age of the average boat buyer poses a demographic challenge for the industry INSIDE Winning Element Brunswick Boat Group’s affordability venture seems to be paying off. De-mand for the $13,999 Bayliner Element is outstripping supply, says vice pres-ident Brad Anderson, who calls the boat “an absolute home run for us.” Page 8 I f you doubt the urgency of attracting young people to boating, this statistic should give you pause: For every new-boat buyer under 40, there are two on Medicare. The aging of the average buyer is worry-ing those who watch long-term trends. Data show that during the past 15 years the per-centage of new-boat buyers under 40 has shrunk by half — from a third to 16 percent. “The people who were buying boats 15 years ago are the same people buying boats today,” warns Info-Link’s Jack Ellis. “If this trend contin-ues, the assumption is that it’s only a matter of time before our core market just gets too old to buy a boat.” He calls the situation “scary.” Experts link the industry’s fortunes to its suc-cess in tapping into the so-called generations X and Y. But Gen Xers are relatively few in number and Gen Yers — the millennials — are too preoccupied right now with finding jobs and housing to give much thought to boats, ac-cording to associate editor Reagan Haynes. “That millennial generation is still a couple of years away from being in a buying posi-tion,” says NMMA president Thom Dammrich. “But I think the moves you’re seeing today are anticipating where the market is going.” Those moves include a trend toward boats that are less traditional and more affordable — jetboats and pontoon boats, for example. The emphasis on affordability is fine with high-end builders such as Cobalt Boats CEO Paxson St. Clair. “We want people to get into those boats because we hope that if they con-tinue to move into different product categories we’ll have a shot at them later,” he says. Page 18 How R.I. does it A highly skilled work force, an abun-dance of waterfront and one of the nation’s most favorable marine tax structures are the reasons Rhode Is-land packs a lot of boatbuilding into its compact area. Page 26 Spring slumber As it draws to a close, the spring sell-ing season continues to disappoint. New-boat sales fell in April for a third consecutive month and there’s “no way to sugarcoat” the results, says statistician Ryan Kloppe. Page 69 ADVERTISING SPECIAL New Products Showcase HEARD IT HERE FIRST “My yacht club is limited to 250 members. We did a census to see how old members were, and it turns out our members are really old.” — Sabre Yachts’ Bentley Collins on the aging of the boating market Innovation is steaming ahead in the industry like never before, from new joystick technology to electrical anti-fouling systems. Check these out and much more in our special section, which starts on Page 43.