May sets records in growth for new boat sales

The NMMA reports new boat sales rebounded sharply in May, up 59% compared to April, and up 9% from pre-pandemic levels on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total sales in May were the highest they’ve been in a decade with upticks across all segments. Leading the growth were PWCs, saltwater fishing boats, and jet boats, which account for 41% of new boat sales annually. Also noteworthy, outboard engine shipments to boat builders increased for the second consecutive month through June. 

“The new data shows a very positive start to the summer for the recreational boating industry, with increases in new boat sales across all major segments. The last time we saw such strong sales in a single month was back in 2007,” said Vicky Yu, NMMA director of business intelligence. “This strong rebound underscores a heightened interest in boating as a way to enjoy the summer with loved ones while staying close to home, especially as summer camps, sports leagues, and vacations have been cancelled amid the pandemic.”

Furthermore, June data coming in indicates this momentum to continue with healthy sales of new PWCs again in June and increases in outboard engine shipments for the second consecutive month.

“The shipment data is encouraging because outboard boats account for 60% of new boat sales annually, and suggests that dealers are placing orders as manufacturing revs back up,” noted Yu.

Highlights from the latest New Powerboat Registrations report and Monthly Shipment Report:

  • PWC sales reached record monthly highs for the second consecutive month in June, up 41% from a year ago, on a seasonally-adjusted basis and have fully recovered from pandemic-related losses in March and April.
  • Saltwater fishing boat sales were up 9% in May on a seasonally-adjusted basis, compared to a year ago.
  • Jet boat sales were up 31% in May on a seasonally-adjusted basis, compared to a year ago.
  • Outboard engine sales in June were up an average 28% from pre-pandemic levels on a seasonally-adjusted, monthly basis.

Access the New Powerboat Registrations report and the Monthly Shipment Report on

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