The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), representing the nation’s recreational boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers, announced that retail unit sales of new powerboats were up an estimated 4% in 2018 to approximately 280,000 units, the highest total since 2007.

According to a press release, the outlook for 2019 remains positive with continued growth expected to bring a 3% to 4% increase in new powerboat retail sales. As one of the country’s growing outdoor recreation activities, NMMA also announced that the recreational boating industry contributes an estimated $170.3 billion in economic activity to the U.S. economy, an increase of approximately $49 billion since the last time the association reported economic impact in 2012.

“The recreational boating industry has been on a seven-year climb that’s expected to continue into 2019, bringing even more people to the water,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “Driving these sales is a combination of the economic growth we’ve seen over the past decade, particularly with consumer confidence hovering near all-time highs and consumers seeking out boating as a way to spend quality time with family and friends outdoors.

“At the same time, over the past five years, marine manufacturers have put a concerted effort on offering new products that attract consumers with different interests and budgets, bringing out new buyers — especially across the watersports, fishing, and pontoon categories — three categories seeing unprecedented sales growth.”