Total unit sales of new boats in the US gained ground in March, according to Info-Link’s “Bellwether Report,” which tracks about 50 per cent of the US market. The monthly report, comparing rolling 12-month periods through March 2012 to the same period a year earlier, said retail sales of powerboats over 14 feet were up more than five percent for March. That is the highest percentage gain in more than five years.

Gains in the outboard and sportfishing segments pushed up overall new-boat sales, while falling sales declines in other segments also contributed to the higher percentage.

The outboard segment was up 10 per cent in March, while sales of outboard sportfishing boats rose a percentage point to about nine per cent.

The rate of decline for the sterndrive/jet boat category slowed slightly to about five per cent, while the decline in ski-boat sales also slowed a percentage point to about six per cent.

The rate of decline for personal watercraft also slowed to about eight per cent compared to nine per cent a month earlier.