Archive for » January 15th, 2018«

U.S. Boat Sales Strong Heading into 2018, Poised for Another Year …

Marine Manufacturers Association
(NMMA), representing the nation’s
recreational boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers, announced
today it expects unit sales of new powerboats to be up six percent in
2017, marking an estimated 260,000 new powerboats sold last year. As
consumer confidence continues to rise and boat manufacturers introduce
products and experiences to attract younger boaters, the outlook for
2018 new powerboat sales is another five to six percent increase.

“The close of 2017 marked our sixth consecutive year of growth in new
boat sales and recreational boating expenditures, and we expect that
trend to continue through 2018, and possibly beyond,” said Thom
Dammrich, NMMA president. “On the horizon, if economic indicators remain
favorable to the recreational boating market with strong consumer
confidence, a healthy housing market, rising disposable income and
consumer spending, and historically low interest rates, the outlook is
good for boat sales.”

Boat manufacturers and dealers around the U.S. are preparing for a busy
winter boat show season – a crucial selling period for the industry.
Manufacturers debut their latest innovations and products at boat
shows—important selling and marketing events that can generate as much
as 50 percent of annual sales for manufacturers and dealers. Shoppers
can expect to find incentives and some of the best deals of the year at
boat shows with the added convenience of being able to compare different
boat models, and different dealers, in one location.

Expect to get a read on buyer trends and sales for the year ahead at
this winter’s boat shows, including:

  • Versatile family fun boats: Manufacturers continue to build
    more accessible and versatile watercraft to attract new and younger
    boaters, offering an all-in-one experience from fishing to cruising to
    watersports. Sales are expected to be up for ski and wake boats (seven
    percent), pontoons (7-8 percent) and personal watercraft (5-6 percent)
    in 2017.
  • Fishing boats: Fishing is the most popular activity done on a
    boat, and fishing boat sales are a major driver of the industry’s
    sustained momentum. Sales estimates for 2017 show saltwater fishing
    boats up four percent and freshwater fishing boats up two percent.
  • Cruisers: Boats between 22 and 32 feet, and popular for
    relaxing, entertaining and ‘cruising,’ are on the rise with estimated
    gains of 9-10 percent in 2017. With consumer confidence and consumer
    spending at strong levels, sales of these mid-sized powerboats are
    expected to continue the upward trend in the year ahead.
  • More boating experiences for new boaters: Boat clubs, rentals
    and fractional use companies continue to grow in popularity as new
    boaters explore ways to get on the water. Boating experiences provide
    a gateway to ownership and companies like Boatsetter, Freedom Boat
    Club, SailTime and Carefree Boat Club help beginners find ways to go
    boating. Learn more at

U.S. Recreational Boating by the Numbers

  • Annual U.S. consumer spending on boats, marine products and services
    totaled $36 billion in 2016 and are expected to have climbed three
    percent in 2017 to $37 billion.
  • Sales of new powerboats in 2017 are estimated to exceed 260,000 units
    with continued sales growth of 5-6 percent expected in 2018.
  • The recreational boating industry in the U.S. supports 650,000 direct
    and indirect American jobs and nearly 35,000 small businesses.
  • Recreational boats are uniquely American made with 95 percent of the
    boats sold in the U.S., made in the U.S.
  • Leading the nation in sales of new powerboat, engine, trailer and
    accessories in 2016 were the following states:

1. Florida: $2.5 billion, up five percent from 2015

2. Texas: $1.4 billion, up five percent from 2015

3. Michigan: $868 million, up nine percent from 2015

4. Minnesota: $710 million, up nine percent from 2015

5. North Carolina: $689 million, up 11 percent from 2015

6. New York: $688 million, up 14 percent from 2015

7. Wisconsin: $622 million, up nine percent from 2015

8. California: $615 million, up 15 percent from 2015

9. Georgia: $551 million, up 11 percent from 2015

10. South Carolina: $544 million, up 10 percent from 2015

  • It’s not just new boats Americans are buying; there were an estimated
    981,600 pre-owned boats (powerboats, personal watercraft, and
    sailboats) sold in 2016, totaling $9.2 billion in sales.
  • There were an estimated 11.9 million registered/documented boats in
    the U.S. in 2016.
  • Ninety-five percent of boats on the water (powerboats, personal
    watercraft, and sailboats) in the U.S. are small in size, measuring
    less than 26 feet in length—boats that can be trailered by a vehicle
    to local waterways.

About NMMA: The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)
is the leading trade organization for the North American recreational
boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of
the boats, engines, trailers, marine accessories and gear used by
millions of boaters in North America. The association serves its members
and their sales and service networks by improving the business
environment for recreational boating including providing domestic and
international sales and marketing opportunities, reducing unnecessary
government regulation, decreasing the cost of doing business, and
helping grow boating participation. As the largest producer of boat and
sport shows in the U.S., NMMA connects the recreational boating industry
with the boating consumer year-round. Learn more at
and get engaged with us on Twitter
and LinkedIn.

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