Recreational Boating is $121 Billion Economic Driver for US

The National
Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA),
today 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.

A family enjoys the warm summer weather aboard their boat. (Photo: Business Wire)

A family enjoys the warm summer weather aboard their boat. (Photo: Business Wire)

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

New Boat Sales

  • Retail sales of new power and sailboats increased 10.7 percent in 2012
    to 163,245, demonstrating a post-recession recovery for the industry.

    • New powerboat sales increased 10 percent to 157,300 in 2012.
    • New sailboat sales increased 29.2 percent 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 percent increase in the
    number of new boats sold. Outboard boats are the most popular type of
    new powerboat sold, making up approximately 82 percent of the market.
  • Ski and wakeboard boats are seeing healthy growth with an increase of
    13.4 percent 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 five percent 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 percent,
or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during
the year. This is a six percent 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
, 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.

Source: The NMMA’s economic
value report on the U.S. and by state, and congressional districts
within each state
, can be found within the Statistics section’s
Research Library on For excerpts and additional data from the
NMMA’s Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract please contact Ellen
Hopkins at

Join the conversation on Twitter using #boatnews

About NMMA: 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. The association is dedicated to
industry growth through programs in public policy advocacy, market
statistics and research, product quality assurance and promotion of the
boating lifestyle. For more information, visit

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