The Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA) says PWC sales, hovering around 80,000 units each year since 2002, may have increased dramatically in 2006.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association says 1.55 million PWC were in use in the U.S. in 2005, up 58 percent since 1996. Analyses shows three-passenger models account for the vast majority of PWC on the water today and nearly 90 percent of all sales in 2005. The more fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly four-stroke models also dominate the marketplace, accounting for at least 80 percent of sales.
According to a national study conducted in May 2006 by the Recreational Marine Research Center and National Marine Manufacturers Association, 94 percent of boaters planned on hitting the water this past summer despite rising gas prices, and overall boating participation actually increased by 2.3 million boaters in 2005, to 71.3 million.
“Rising gas prices have not deterred many boaters from enjoying the water as some might have expected,” said Maureen Healey, Executive Director of PWIA. “We are seeing that many boaters are turning to personal watercraft because they are remarkably fuel efficient, less expensive and easier to maintain than larger, costlier boats.”
PWC have also been increasingly utilized by many public safety and rescue organizations. Since 1989, more than 15,000 vessels have been loaned through manufacturers and their local dealerships to law enforcement, fire and rescue, and marine mammal research organizations across America. If calculated at the 2005 average retail price of $9,495 per PWC, manufacturers' investment in this program has exceeded $142 million.
The PWIA represents the four manufacturers of PWC: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AquaTrax); BRP US Inc. (Sea-Doo); Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (Jet Ski); and Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. (WaveRunner).
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business