The 710-page(!!!) January 1959 issue features a fascinating look at the state of the boating industry in the 1950s.
It's loaded with stats that shine a light on what was a booming market as Americans spent their post-war dollars on boating. Think of it as a precursor of our annual Market Data Book.
To put some of these numbers in perspective, consider these stats about the United States at the time:
- 177.4 million population (now 318.9 million)
- Average household income: $5,100 (now $51,939)
Some stats that jumped out at me from the issue:
- 37 million people participated in boating
- $2.085 billion retail spending on boating, having climbed from $645 million in 1951
- 7.3 million boats in use, up from 4.3 million in 1952
- The average outboard sold was 20.7hp and cost an average of $466
- Just like today's wake surfing, water sports were helping to grow the industry, with 17.7 percent saying they bought their boat for skiing, up from 7 percent in 1955.
- Nearly half (48.3 percent) of boats purchased were 13' 7" to 14' 6". Only 2.8 percent were more than 17' 6".
- There were 168,000 trailers sold