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U.S. boat sales reach highest levels in a decade

June 6th, 2019 / By: / Industry News

Unit sales of new powerboats in the U.S. reached 276,000 in 2018, an increase of 4 percent from 2017, the highest levels the U.S. recreational boating industry has seen in 11 years, according to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

Marine expenditures, spending on boats, engines, trailers, accessories and related services, were at an all-time high in 2018 at $42 billion, up 7 percent from 2017. The increase in new powerboat sales in 2018 was led by:

•Outboard boat sales were up 3 percent to 177,600 units in 2018; representing 85 percent of new traditional powerboats sold, and includes pontoons, aluminum and fiberglass fishing boats, as well as small fiberglass cruising boats.

•Personal watercraft sales rose 8 percent to 69,000 units in 2018; often considered a gateway to boat ownership.

•Wakesport boat sales rose 10 percent to 10,500 units in 2018; popular with new and younger boaters for wakesurfing and wakeboarding.

•Cruiser sales were up 3 percent to 9,000 units in 2018; ranging in size from 22 to 32 feet and geared toward entertaining and ‘cruising.’

•Jet boat sales were up 4 percent to 5,900 units in 2018; smaller fiberglass boats that use jet engine technology to propel the boat.

Recreational boating contributes an estimated $170.3 billion in economic activity to the U.S. economy. Leading the nation in sales of new powerboat, engine, trailer and accessories in 2018 were the following 10 states:

  1. Florida: $3.2 billion, up 8 percent from 2017

2. Texas: $1.8 billion, up 9 percent from 2017

3. Michigan: $1.1 billion, up 10 percent from 2017

4. North Carolina: $914 million, up 9 percent from 2017

5. Minnesota: $861 million, up 6 percent from 2017

6. Wisconsin: $781 million, up 9 percent from 2017

7. New York: $775 million, up 5 percent from 2017

8. California: $765 million, up 6 percent from 2017

9. Georgia: $680 million, up 8 percent from 2017

10. South Carolina: $661 million, up 4 percent from 2017

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