The hottest summer in Norway in more than 100 years has reawakened the country’s interest in boating, with boat usage and boat sales at record levels. The removal of the extra horsepower tax, which came into effect on July 1, also contributed to the rise.

“After several years of economic challenges, also in Norway, most signs are more positive now,” says Erlend Prytz, managing director of Norwegian marine industry federation Norboat. “A nice summer last year set the foundation for improvement, but it was when the record 2014 summer made its entrance that the boating business saw the new positive trend.”

“So far, 2014 has seen a big increase for the marine business,” he adds. “In May we were told that the horsepower tax should be lifted and after that we had some summer weeks we’ll never forget. All the major players have told us of higher sales or more interest, something we will also see the effect of in the 2015 season.”

According to Norboat, the increase in sales of boats from 20ft-25ft in the NOK500,000 to NOK700,000 price range may be as high as 20%, while the total market has seen growth of 4-7% compared to last year. The tax ban on engines led to an estimated 15-20% rise in sales of large outboard engines.

A recent study shows that boat usage in Norway also increased a lot this year. Around 54.4% of the population say they have been in a pleasure boat this year, compared to 46% last year.

Sales of wave-runners have also increased following a change in regulations. Einar Grinvold at BRP Norway AS told IBI that company sales are 10 times higher than they were last year. “The main reason is the change in EU regulations, but also the horsepower tax ban made wave-runners more reasonable in price,” he says. “When some models go down by 25% in price overnight, more people have the opportunity to buy.”