Data released by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) show that unit sales of new powerboats increased 5% in 2017, reaching 262,000, the highest levels the U.S. recreational boating industry has seen in 10 years.

Boating Industry reported that total marine expenditures were at an all-time high in 2017 at $39 billion (spending on new boats, engines, trailers, accessories and services), up 7% from 2016.

Boat manufacturers are expanding capacity to meet this demand — building new plants and increasing production — supporting recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that U.S. manufacturing gross output increased to $6.228 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“As the strong economy continues to bolster new boat sales and boating expenditures, capital spending and manufacturer optimism are at record highs, creating one of the strongest periods on record for the U.S. boating industry, and a buyers’ paradise with more boats and more options on the market,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “Economic factors such as an increase in GDP, improving housing market, strong consumer confidence, and growing disposable income are spurring demand for new boats. The growth trajectory recreational boating is continuing to see is healthy and steady as the industry works to bring new buyers to the market across all segments, from small aluminum fishing boats to large cruising yachts.”

Demand is growing for nearly all powerboat segments, including small sterndrive cruisers (22-foot to 32- foot), a segment that has lagged since the recession.


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