Highly regarded US survey of boaters' faves

The annual J.D. Power and Associates report on what boaters like and don’t like has been published at the Miami Boat Show.

The independent body say small, privately owned boat firms dominate the 2007 awards.

Todd Markusic, senior director of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates said: “There are exceptions, but as a general rule this group of independent boat builders tend to outperform the larger builders when it comes to overall customer satisfaction.

“These companies tend to be more nimble than the larger builders in making changes, correcting problems and adopting new technologies, whereas larger companies naturally face challenges in implementing the same processes.”

Now in its sixth year, the study measures owner satisfaction with new boats among 76 brands in seven categories:

Ski/wakeboard

Fiberglass Bass Boats

Small Runabouts (16ft to 19ft)

Large Runabouts (20ft to 29ft)

Coastal Fishing (17ft to 28ft)

Pontoons

Express Cruisers (24ft to 33ft)

Of the marques readily available in the UK, the Coastal Fishing category saw Boston Whaler report the greatest year on year increase.

Regal ranks highest among Express Cruisers, receiving the highest ratings for ride and handling, design and styling, engine satisfaction, quality, cabin, helm and instrument panel, and maintenance.
Sea Ray, who have also performed well overall, follows Regal in this category.

In the Small Runabout category again it is Regal that ranks highest for a second consecutive year. Crownline, Sea Ray, Stingray and Chaparral follow on in the rankings.

In the Large Runabout category Cobalt ranks highest for a sixth consecutive time. Regal, Sea Ray and Four Winns follow on.
The study is based on responses from 12,140 owners who registered a new boat between June 2005 and May 2006.

Click here to see the full results.