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HomeBusiness StrategiesSmall BusinessThe boating industry sees modest growth in 2019 thanks to new innovation

The boating industry sees modest growth in 2019 thanks to new innovation


After a stellar 2018 where most yacht dealers saw the highest sales since the Great Recession, achieving the same results in 2019 would be considered unfathomable. Boat and yacht sales aren’t like most industries where sales can be strategically forecasted. Boat sales are sensitive. As a luxury item, a $1 million or more yacht is an extravagance meant for the wealthy and if the stock market flutters or the news broadcasts an unnerving story, sales can dry up in a matter of seconds. Boat Shows are a great barometer of the interest in boating and according to a recent analysis of boat show registrations, attendance is up 2.5%. Sales generally follow.

The successful companies in boating are able to mitigate the sensitivity in the market by creating or enhancing products to the point that they go from being a “want” to “must-have”. New colors or styles are sure to peek interest, but it’s new technology that truly drives the surge in sales for particular brands or models. There is no shortage of creativity and innovation on today’s yacht market.

Take Out The Stress With Automation

There is nothing quite as embarrassing as attempting to dock your boat without looking foolish in front of many onlookers as the wind is blowing and the current is moving you to unintended places. This scenario has happened at least once to every boat owner and, in the worst case scenarios, can result in damage to the dock, your boat, and other yachts around.

Raymarine’s new Docksense Technology recently debuted at the Miami International Boat Show on a brand-new Prestige 460 Flybridge. Aimed at relieving boat captains of docking under pressure, the new Docksense system creates a “virtual bumper zone” entirely around your yacht. FLIR machine vision cameras are installed to your boat and use visual analytics to determine what structure is around. As your boat inches closer to a piling or another yacht, the Docksense system automatically corrects your steering to avoid the collision and the ensuing embarrassment.

Making Your Yacht “Smart”

For several years, home builders have been using new technology to create a “smart home” in which the owner can control the functions of the house more easily. For yacht owners, learning all of the components and systems on board can be daunting. With many more things to be concerned about like fuel levels, water tank levels, your generator, and more, combining everything into an easy-to-use app only made sense.

Garmin’s EmpirBus technology includes digital switching components that can connect all of your boat’s systems together. The Absolute Navetta 48 was chosen as the first model to receive Garmin’s new and now everything from the air conditioning to monitoring the vessel’s holding tanks can all be done right on an app on your smart device. Finally, boat owners have the same control over their yacht as they do their private residence.

Re-Shaping Your Boats Ride

When Viking Yachts announced it was building a brand-new center-console line called Valhalla Boatworks, the expectations for something innovative were high to say the least. How can you really re-make a center-console into something different? Viking CEO Pat Healey brought in Michael Peters Yacht Design Group to lead the charge. While the new Viking center-console will have only the best electronics, towers, and components, it’s the hull design that truly sets it apart.

Michael Peter’s Yacht Design has a patent on what they are calling a Stepped-V Ventilated Tunnel running surface. The twin steps and tunnel provide for increased speed, handling, and fuel efficiency. The Viking team is touting the new hull as the most advanced in the world of center-consoles.

While 2020 may be a challenging year for boat sales (all U.S. election years are), the dealers carrying brands that have chosen to push the limits  of innovation are reaping the rewards in 2019. Whether new boats are bought or not one thing is for sure, people love the water and will continue to boat no matter the state of the economy.

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