The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is reporting an estimated 10 percent increase in new power boat sales in 2012, and is projecting the industry will see additional increases in 2013 by as much as 5 to 10 percent.
“Improving economic conditions and what seems to be a resurgence in Americans’ love for the outdoors, helped fuel steady growth in new powerboat sales in 2012,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA. “A ten percent boost in 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.”
The NMMA noted that one contributing factor to new boat sales in 2012 was the creation of more versatile and accessible boats in the 15- to 26-foot range. These boats, which include all-purpose aluminum boats, pontoon boats, fiberglass bowriders, fish and ski boats, and jet boats, make up 96 percent of the 12.4 million registered boats in the US.
“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 all-encompassing entry to the boating lifestyle at a variety of price points.”
In 2011, boating participation increased 10 percent to 83 million — the largest proportion of adults (34.8 percent) who went boating since 1997 (35.8 percent).