Tide Turns for US Boating Industry

Press Release
Sunday, January 06, 2013

Recreational boating industry reports ten percent increase in new power boat sales in 2012: first sign of healthy growth since recession.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) early projections indicate the industry will see additional increases in 2013 by as much as 5-10 percent, with the caveat that this level of growth in 2013 will depend on a number of factors including continued improvement in economic conditions that impact recreational boating—namely consumer confidence and the housing market—and sustained increases in Americans’ participation in outdoor recreation.

“Improving economic conditions and what seems to be a resurgence in Americans’ love for the outdoors, helped fuel steady growth in new power boat sales in 2012,” notes Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA. “A ten percent boost at retail in 2012 is significant as this is the first time since the recession we saw healthy growth across the powerboat market, which will create momentum in 2013.”

Another factor, and new trend, that’s contributing to new boat sales is the creation of innovative, more versatile and accessible boats that appeal to a variety of interests and budgets and fall within the 15-26 foot range.

It’s these smaller boats, those less than 27 feet, which make up 96 percent of the 12.4 million registered boats in the U.S. and are leading the industry out of the recession. Boats that fall into this category include aluminum all-purpose boats and pontoons, fiberglass bowriders, fish and ski boats, and jet boats.

“One of the most significant trends we’re seeing in boat manufacturing is the versatile boat—one that can pull tubers or wakeboarders, can be used for fishing outings, relaxing with family or entertaining friends,” said Dammrich. “After a decade of decline, Americans are participating in outdoor recreation in growing numbers, and as they look for ways to spend time outdoors, boat manufacturers are taking cue, producing innovative boats that offer an all-encompassing entry to the boating lifestyle at a variety of price points.”

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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