After three years of falling sales the pleasure boat industry saw a significant increase in 2014 and the first five months of 2015 witnessed a further increase. Between January and May 2015 25% more boats were registered in Andalucia, compared with the same period in 2014.
Business leaders in the Costa del Sol believe that things aren’t back to pre-financial crisis levels, but the signs are ‘so far, so good’.
Marbella has seen the biggest rise in boats being registered, which, by the end of May, put the town in fourth place in Spain, behind the Balearic Islands, Barcelona and Girona. Sales are up by almost 14% in the town, compared with the same period (January to May) in 2014.
The rental market is also flourishing, with particular success in the hire of motorboats and medium-sized vessels as clients look at the smaller end of the market with low energy consumption an important factor.
Europeans and people from the Middle East make up the majority of clients, though the Spanish are beginning to take more interest once again as the economic situation shows signs of improvement.
Although things have been gradually improving since October 2013, General Secretary of Anen (Asociación Nacional de Empresas Náuticas), Carlos Sanlorenzo, remains cautious, saying that data analysed by the sector indicates that “this increase reflects certain sub sectors, such as rental and smaller boats, which historically have lower costs. Boats of up to 8 metres in length and those intended for rental only are exempt from registration tax.”
Another positive sign is that boat owners who keep their vessels on land because they are unable to meet the costs of keeping a boat on the water, they are now beginning to take their boats back to the ports. With the rental and sales market, regression is slow, but the ports are beginning to notice their return. San lorenzo adds: “The sector has left behind a collapse in the market which started in 2008. This is letting us look to the future with hope.”
José Carlos Martín, President of Marinas de Andalucía, Asociación de Puertos Deportivos y Turisticos de Andalucía, welcomes the news and points out that boat sales put some much needed life into the section as a whole sector, including shipyards.
He says: “Any indicator that shows favourable data is welcome.”
It remains to be seen whether the rest of 2015 will continue to see improvement or whether the sector has already reached its peak for this year.