One good indicator of the health of an industry, the marine industry in particular, is new-model introductions. At the Miami Boat Show this year there were a fair number of new models debuting, which not only signals the industry’s health, but also its outlook on the economy overall.
All the major tow-boat manufacturers have new models. Cobalt and Chaparral brought out new designs, and even smaller high-quality builders like Bryant are putting some “fresh glass" on showroom floors nationwide. And jet boats, now based on much improved engine technology, are making a strong comeback.
All this comes on the heels of some not-so-great economic reports out in January. Global share prices have dropped more than $3 trillion, the Standard & Poors 500 was down 5 percent, and commodity prices have slipped a bit, too. However, according to a report in The Economist, the bad news might stem, in part, from the same thing that cancels plans for a weekend of boating: bad weather.
The United States has gone through a particularly harsh winter, which has been bad enough to disrupt economic activity, which is part of why January figures slipped a little.
The amount of traffic at the Miami show also is a fair indicator of the marine industry’s health, and anecdotally, traffic is up a bit over last year. The economic recovery is admittedly still a bit wobbly, but the mild correction in January is no cause for alarm. If you’re in the market for a new boat, the good news is that builders have more new models to choose from.