Chicago Boat Show Rides Wave of Optimism

The Chicago Boat Show opens today at McCormick Place, and the mood in the convention center couldn’t be more optimistic, according to Yamaha WaterCraft general manager Bryan Seti.

For 2018, Yamaha offers an innovation called SurfPointe, a technology that improves the surfability of the wake produced by its new wake series of boats, the 212X and 242X models.

According to Seti, as consumer confidence continues to rise and boat manufacturers introduce products and experiences to attract younger boaters, the outlook for 2018 new powerboat sales is another five to six percent increase above last year’s five percent gains.

For Seti, business has been exceptionally good. Yamaha, the maker of WaveRunner personal watercraft and 19′, 21′, and 24′ runabouts and center console boats, is enjoying double-digit growth and their Georgia and Tennessee factories are operating at capacity.

“On the horizon, if economic indicators remain favorable to the recreational boating market with strong consumer confidence, a healthy housing market, rising disposable income and consumer spending, and historically low-interest rates, the outlook is good for boat sales,” said Seti.

Yamaha and its dealers around the U.S. are preparing for a busy winter boat show season. Shoppers can expect to find incentives and some of the best deals of the year at boat shows with the added convenience of being able to compare different boat models, and different dealers, in one location.

Annual U.S. consumer spending on boats, marine products and services totaled $36 billion in 2016 and are expected to have climbed three percent in 2017 to $37 billion. S

The recreational boating industry in the U.S. supports 650,000 direct and indirect American jobs and nearly 35,000 small businesses.

Yamaha’s award-winning WaveRunner lineup starts at $6,699 with its EX Series. The EX is the smallest and lightest sit-down personal watercraft that Yamaha offers today.

Recreational boats are uniquely American made with 95 percent of the boats sold in the U.S., made in the U.S

Leading the nation in sales of new powerboat, engine, trailer and accessories in 2016 were the following states:

1. Florida: $2.5 billion, up five percent from 2015

2. Texas: $1.4 billion, up five percent from 2015

3. Michigan: $868 million, up nine percent from 2015

4. Minnesota: $710 million, up nine percent from 2015

5. North Carolina: $689 million, up 11 percent from 2015

6. New York: $688 million, up 14 percent from 2015

7. Wisconsin: $622 million, up nine percent from 2015

8. California: $615 million, up 15 percent from 2015

9. Georgia: $551 million, up 11 percent from 2015

10. South Carolina: $544 million, up 10 percent from 2015

For Chicago Boat Show dates, hours, and tickets