The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced today (Jan. 10) it expects unit sales of new powerboats to be up 6% 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 5% to 6% 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, in a press release. “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% 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.

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 3% in 2017 to $37 billion.
  • Sales of new powerboats in 2017 are estimated to exceed 260,000 units with continued sales growth of 5% to 6% 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% of the boats sold in the U.S., made in the U.S.