As market indices across the country flooded with red ink, one stock rode 6% higher yesterday.

Not because of a buyout offer. That's Kyphon (NASDAQ:KYPH), and it's up 24% today. Not because of a private equity cash infusion. That would be Princeton Review (NASDAQ:REVU) -- likewise up 24% over the past few days. No, I'm talking about pleasure-boat retailer MarineMax (NYSE:HZO), which reported a 19% decline in per-share profits Thursday morning -- and got a bump from Wall Street in response.

That's the question we're here to answer, and it's a bit of a humdinger, seeing as most of the numbers MarineMax reported were of the negative variety:

  • Same-store sales? Down 9%.
  • Total sales? Down 10%.
  • Profits? Like I just said, those were down 19%, despite being buoyed by a $0.03 gain for hocking the corporate jet, $0.02 more from an insurance payout, and $0.18 more from a favorable tax settlement.

Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
Actually, the play was pretty much a tragedy all around. According to CEO William McGill: "The past 12 months has been a challenging period for our industry, with retail unit percentage declines in the mid-teens, based on industry reports," and MarineMax has "not been immune to the challenges facing our industry." (For more details on said "challenges," cast your eyes further up the product pipeline and check out Marine Products' (NYSE:MPX) recent earnings release, or even better, Ryan Fuhrmann's analysis of Brunswick's (NYSE:BC) quarter.) That said, McGill is keeping MarineMax on course with his oft-stated objectives for navigating an industry downturn: paring back inventory, maintaining a strong balance sheet, and stealing share.

That last point is most important. As rival businesses get torpedoed by the soft selling environment, McGill aims to grab market share from the weaker players. The theory is that every submarine must eventually come up for air, and that the currently underwater boating industry is no different. Once the boating business revives, big players like MarineMax will profit most from the turnaround.

Here's hoping.

For more Foolishness on the industry, read:

Got thoughts on MarineMax? Bring them to CAPS!

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Fool's disclosure policy lives in a yellow submarine.