As February approaches, boat shows will soon be launching marketing campaigns at convention centers and expo halls across the country. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the average price of a new boat in 2007 was $13,944. That statistic could pose a problem for many US consumers who find themselves underwater on their biggest investments – their homes. Currently about 10% of US households own boats and manufacturers are wondering how to increase that percentage.

An old concept is increasingly being applied to the boating industry – fractional ownership. One of the biggest operators in the US, SailTime Group, reports that business is booming.  And SailTime doesn’t own the market. Carefree Boat Club and Freedom Boat Club have reported strong growth as well.

This ownership model may prove to be a boost to manufacturers as prospective boat owners enjoy the benefits of boating without the hassle of maintenance, storage, and traditional ownership costs.

Look for more of fractional ownership companies to emerge around the country. As they seek to educate consumers on the benefits of a new way to enjoy boating, they’ll certainly be looking for marketing partners.

[Source: SailTime’s fractional boating membership climbs, Boating Industry, 1.06.09]