#marine – Although there has been a small but steady recovery the Irish Marine Federation (IMF) says in its latest bulletin to members, a reliable barometer of boating actiivty, the Irish boating trade is still a long way from getting back to anything that resembles a normal level of business.
'Our major dealers are relying on business generated from overseas clients, however, there has been some business done with Irish clients. Whilst consumer confidence remains low this trend will continue, says industry spokesman Steve Conlon.
The IMF's original estimate of quarter four of 2013 as marking the beginning of a consumer recovery now seems to be slipping further back.
Chandlery companies report a flat season with some exceptions in demand largely driven by the odd occasion of better weather or special events. The sector in common with others in the retail sector report low growth or at best flat with a halt to the downward trend of previous years.
It is expected the rise in the cost of Sterling will help counter the increase in online selling from UK based mail order companies.
Business trends at marinas across the country vary with Dublin based marinas being the worst affected in terms of a loss of regular annual contracts.
There is an estimate of a 28% loss in annual contracts on the east coast. Cork marinas continue to have few or any vacancies with the marinas further west suffering a decline of approx 12% according to the IMF.
In spite of the industry wide decline there has been growth in seasonal contract business for some marinas and some marinas also report strong visiting numbers.
The federation says 'It is too early to say as to whether overseas visitors are down overall this year but the Failte Ireland survey may give us an accurate national picture for the first time'.
Irish Boat Rental Association (IBRA) members reported a better than expected start to the season with a tailing off in September. Overall the business remains flat although preseason bookings were up slightly. The bad summer can be blamed for the slow up take from the domestic market, the Federation says.