Boat sales taking a hit

The marine business is in rough waters these days, tossed by an uncertain economy, high fuel prices and a nervous climate among consumers.

“The whole U.S. boating industry – boats over 15 feet is down at least 25 percent across the board, the last six months,” said Beaufort-based Mike Bradley, program director of N.C. Boating Industry Services. “…The biggest component of the problem has to do with how people get money – the banking end of it.”

Jack Coulter, head of brokerage for Deaton Yacht Sales in the Oriental area, said business was the slowest it had been since 9-11, although in the past three weeks, there has been an upswing.

The recent spike has him optimistic.

He said the factors that cause hesitation among potential buyers include the slow economy, gasoline prices and even the political scene.

“Election years are always like this,” he said. He said there is an uncertainty among consumers during presidential elections years.

“People have a lot of doubt in their mind.”