The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) 2017 Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract shows that unit sales of new powerboats increased 5 percent in 2017, reaching 262,000, the highest levels the U.S. recreational boating industry has seen in 10 years. What’s more, 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 percent from 2016.
Demand is growing for nearly all powerboat segments, including small sterndrive (boats with engines that are partially in and out of the boat) cruisers, a segment that has lagged since the recession. Small sterndrive cruisers rebounded to a three-year high, up 5 percent from 2016, accounting for 52 percent of all sterndrive boat sales. Outboard boat sales, representing 85 percent of new traditional powerboats sold, and include pontoons, aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats, as well as small fiberglass cruising boats, were up 5 percent in 2017.