The U.S. recreational boating industry will continue its post-recession climb with an estimated 5 percent increase in new powerboat retail sales in 2013, according to new figures from the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The increase comes on the heels of the industry’s 2012 rebound when new powerboat retail sales increased 10.1 percent.
In 2014, NMMA expects that recreational power boat sales will continue to grow another 5 to 7 percent.
Retail dollar sales of new powerboats are expected to be up 8 percent in 2013, indicating that the mix of boats being purchased includes higher priced boats and that Americans are investing more in boating.
“The housing market has improved, consumer confidence has steadily increased the last two years, and consumer spending is on the rise — all factors that are helping to fuel stable growth for the U.S. recreational boating industry and further sales in 2013. In addition, we’re seeing more and more Americans take to the water, as our participation numbers are at an all-time high — 88 million Americans went boating in 2012. This indicates that with experience on the water comes an interest in life on the water and the subsequent purchase of a boat,” noted Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA. “If economic growth persists and the recreational boating industry continues gaining participants, we anticipate sustained growth in 2014 and into 2015 and 2016.”
Leading the industry’s growth are small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less in size, which continued their upward climb in 2013 with a 6.7 percent increase in the number of new boats sold; and ski and wakeboard boats, with an 11.7 percent increase in sales.
Some other key stats from the NMMA report:
• Recreational boating in the U.S. is a $35 billion industry and creates 338,526 marine industry jobs (manufacturing, dealers/wholesalers, services) at 34,833 marine industry businesses.
• 93 percent of the boats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S.
• Americans are taking to the water in record numbers: Of the 232.3 million adults in the U.S. in 2012, 37.8 percent, or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during the year. This is a 6 percent increase from 2011 and the largest number of U.S. adults participating in boating since NMMA began collecting the data in 1990.
• There were an estimated 12.1 million registered boats (power, sail and some canoes/kayaks and other non-powered boats) in the U.S. in 2012.
• Fishing remains the number one (63 percent) boating activity current participants engaged in while boating; 20 percent went tubing, 17 percent went waterskiing and 9 percent went wakeboarding for a total of 46 percent who participated in water sports (tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding).
• 95 percent of the boats on the water are 26 feet or less.
• 76 percent of boat owners have a household income less than $100,000.