Queensland has passed New South Wales as the most popular boating state in Australia. By the end of January, total boat registrations equaled 219,643, more than any state or territory in the country.
Barry Hibberd, Marine Queensland's retiring general manager, said in a statement that boating registrations have been growing at about six per cent each year, and that one in five people over 15 years old holds some form of marine license. 'The number of boats on local waterways is growing by around 10,000 every year,' said Hibberd, adding that the boat growth rate has been about twice the growth rate of the population over the past five years.
Hibberd said that young executives accounted for sales in the upper end of the market as well as retirees who want to own 'something more exciting than a motorhome.' He said that the number of vessels over 10 meters has increased by 47 per cent since 2002, and the number of boats over 15 meters is up by 93 per cent for that same time period.
'But this big boat growth has been right across the state, exacerbating the shortage of local marina berths,' he said. 'As the pool of wet berths dries up, the market will look to big boats that can be dry-stored.' Hibberd said that he foresees growth in the smaller 8- to 12-m category of boats that can be kept at home or in dry racks at marinas.
The growth in boat sales has also caused an expansion of boat specialists and boat manufacturers, added Hibberd. Queensland produces about 95 per cent of the boats manufactured in Australia. Marine Queensland's membership has more than doubled in the past three years to more than 600 organisations.
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7:58 PM Fri 7 Mar 2008 GMT