Recreational Boating Continues Rebound | Quimby's Cruising Guide

As 2013 comes to a close, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has announced it anticipates the U.S. recreational boating industry to continue its post-recession climb, with an estimated 5 percent increase in new powerboat retail sales. The increase comes on the heels of the industry’s 2012 rebound, when new powerboat retail sales increased 10 percent — the industry’s first sign of recovery.

Retail dollar sales of new powerboats are expected to be up 8 percent in 2013, signaling that the mix of boats being purchased includes higher priced boats and that Americans are investing more in boating. The NMMA expects that recreational power boat sales will continue to grow another 5 to 7 percent in 2014.

“The housing market has improved, consumer confidence has steadily increased the last two years and consumer spending is on the rise — all factors that are helping to fuel stable growth for the U.S. recreational boating industry and further sales in 2013,” said Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA. “In addition, we’re seeing more and more Americans take to the water, as our participation numbers are at an all-time high — 88 million Americans went boating in 2012. If economic growth persists and the recreational boating industry continues gaining participants, we anticipate sustained growth in 2014 and into 2015 and 2016.”

Leading the industry’s growth are small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less in size, which continued their upward climb in 2013 with a 6.7 percent increase in the number of new boats sold; and ski and wakeboard boats, with an 11.7 percent increase in sales.