Maybe after the big boat-making events that led off 2001, it was time for some relative calm.
But, then again, maybe not.
In any case, the marine industry weathered a slow year for sales, reflective of a downturn in consumer purchases for big-ticket items and a lack of disposable income.
``I think it's strongly tied into consumer confidence,'' said James Petru, manager of market statistics with the Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association. ``Everyone has taken a hit across the board, for all types of boat sales.''
The year started with a major recasting of the industry's major players after a large boat producer, Outboard Marine Corp., hit the shoal and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Minneapolis-based Genmar Holdings Inc. bought the boat operations, while Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. purchased OMC's engine division.
The deal made Genmar the largest U.S. boat producer.
Meanwhile, new boat sales declined 12 percent during the first half of the year, and NMMA expects them to be down about 6 percent for the entire year, Petru said.
In 2000, boat shipments outpaced sales. But dealers today are in a better position because most pruned capacity in 2001, Petru said.
``If anything, dealers have leaner inventories today,'' he said. ``So when a turnaround comes, they'll be in good shape.''
But when that time will come is the bigger question.
The downturn also affected a marine-focused dot-com. Miami-based Marex.com Inc. abandoned plans to form a Web-based purchasing network to unite major boat suppliers. Instead, in an effort to boost profit, Marex became a supplier of software to marine manufacturers.