Retail sales for recreational boats, accessories and marine services in the U.S. increased 6 percent to $32.3 billion in 2011, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Annual Statistical Report. This marks the first increase in retail sales for the recreational boating industry since 2006. Leading the recovery was aluminum powerboats (primarily fishing and pontoon boats), with sales up 4 percent in 2011. Boating participation also jumped, increasing 10 percent to 83 million.
With the recreational boating industry still predominantly comprised of small boats, the report noted the size of the boats Americans purchase is relative to income. Eighty-three percent of boat owners reported an annual household income of less than $100,000.