National Marine Manufacturers Association annual statistical report shows improving U.S. recreational boating industry
The NMMA’s annual Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract is the U.S. recreational boating industry’s most comprehensive compilation of statistics and research. The new data signals the beginning of a recovery for the U.S. recreational boating industry.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) say that in 2011 U.S. retail sales for recreational boats, accessories and marine services increased six percent to $32.3 billion, new power and sail boat retail sales increased 0.8 percent to 214,405, and boating participation increased ten percent to 83 million. The recreational boating industry has not seen an increase in retail sales since 2006, and the jump in participation is the largest proportion of adults (34.8 percent) who went boating since 1997, when 35.8 percent participated.
Leading a recovery are sales of aluminum power boats (primarily fishing and pontoon boats), which were up four percent in 2011. There were 77,150 aluminum power boats sold in 2011. The top ten states for aluminum power boat retail sales were (in order of highest to lowest): Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.
Data from NMMA’s Abstract shows the recreational boating industry continues to be predominantly comprised of small boats, which includes the aluminum power boat segment: 95 percent of the 12.4 million registered boats in the U.S. in 2011 were 26 feet or less in size. Boats less than 26 feet are most often taken by trailer to local bodies of water, in contrast to boats which are 26 feet in length and larger and typically docked at marinas. The size of the boats Americans purchase is relative to boater income: 83 percent of all boat owners in the U.S. in 2011 had an annual household income less than $100,000.