Recreational Boating: a $121-billion Economic Driver for U.S.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), announced that recreational boating in the U.S. has an annual economic value of $121 billion. The industry’s rising tide supports 964,000 American jobs and 34,833 businesses, generates $40 billion in annual labor income and drives $83 billion in annual spending.

The NMMA, on behalf of the U.S. boating industry, released these findings today as part of its annual U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, a collection of data and analysis on the state of the U.S. recreational boating industry. Additional data highlights include:

New Boat Sales
-Retail sales of new power and sailboats increased 10.7% in 2012 to 163,245, demonstrating a post-recession recovery for the industry.
-New powerboat sales increased 10% to 157,300 in 2012.
-New sailboat sales increased 29.2% to 5,945 in 2012.

-Small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less in size, continued their upward climb with an 11.3% increase in the number of new boats sold. Outboard boats are the most popular type of new powerboat sold, making up approximately 82% of the market.
-Ski and wakeboard boats are seeing healthy growth with an increase of 13.4% new boats sold in 2012.
-Jet boats, which are small fiberglass boats less than 26 feet in length, are a growing category. Of the 157,300 new powerboats sold in 2012, 4,500 were jet boats. New jet boat sales increased 36.4% in 2012.

What’s Ahead
Sales of new powerboats have remained steady during the first half of 2013 and continued growth is expected with the summer boating season. NMMA anticipates sales of new powerboats to grow 5% in 2013.

“Summer is a peak selling season for recreational boats, accessories and services throughout the U.S. as people look for ways to disconnect from the daily grind and enjoy fun times on the water, “ said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “New boat sales have historically been a barometer for the U.S. economy and the steady sales increases we’re seeing is being reinforced by the slow uptick in consumer confidence, housing and spending. As economic growth continues, we anticipate sustained steady growth through the remainder of 2013.”

Boating Participation
Of the estimated 232.3 million adults in the U.S. in 2012, 37.8%, or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during the year. This is a 6% increase from 2011 and the largest number of U.S. adults participating in boating since NMMA began collecting the data in 1990. Recreational boating participation has steadily increased since 2006.

Helping People Discover Boating
Growing participation is a priority for the recreational boating industry as it drives new boat sales. Boat manufacturers, dealers, marinas, and other marine organizations joined together to form Discover Boating, a consumer program to grow participation and create a positive boating experience. The North American effort provides resources to help those interested in boating get started and promotes the fun of the boating lifestyle through a national marketing campaign.

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