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                The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is reporting healthy growth for the $35.4 billion U.S. recreational boating industry, with an estimated 171,500 new powerboats sold in 2014 — an increase of 6.4% from 2013.

Soundings Trade Only reported that Florida, the nation’s top state for boat sales, sold $2.3 billion worth of new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories, up 22.5% from 2013.

Categories seeing growth within the powerboat segment include jet-drive boats, up 16.7%, to 3,500 units; ski/wakeboard boats, up 16.4%, to 7,100 units; and outboard boats, up 7.4%, to 144,800 units.

The NMMA anticipates that sales of new powerboats will continue to grow through 2015, with an increase in unit sales of as much as 5% to 7%.

“We’re seeing sales increases across a number of boat categories, with the largest increase from smaller fiberglass and aluminum outboard powerboats — a segment that remains the market share leader, given their continued versatility and variety of price points and sizes,” NMMA President Thom Dammrich said in a statement.

He added, “Spring and summer are key selling periods for new boats, and we are off to a good start with warmer weather and lower gas prices helping to boost boat sales. After a strong 2014, we expect to see continued growth in 2015 by as much as 5% to 7%.”

According to NMMA, U.S. expenditures on boats, engines, accessories and related costs totaled $35.4 billion in 2014.

The recreational boating industry in the United States has an annual economic impact of more than $121.5 billion (includes direct, indirect and induced spending), supporting 650,015 direct and indirect American jobs and nearly 35,000 businesses.

Annual retail sales of new boats, engines and marine accessories in the United States totaled $16.4 billion in 2014.

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