Having weathered the economic storms that marked the beginning of this decade, Canadian marine equipment manufacturers enjoy comparatively smooth sailing these days, with a stable domestic market and a growing interest in developing export trade.

Following a short-term spike in 2010 and 2011 that was fuelled by the combination of an unusually strong Canadian dollar and extremely low interest rates, sales of new boats and marine engines have settled back to sustainable levels that are more in line with long-term averages.

The 2014 Canadian recreational Boating abstract published by NMMA Canada estimates retail sales of new boats and outboard engines at c$2.0bn, a 2.3% drop from 2013. However, personal watercraft sales for the same period were up by 3.9% in units and 5.4% in dollars, suggesting more of a market shift than an overall decline. Indeed, 2014 marked the fourth consecutive year of growth for the personal watercraft market in canada, both in terms of unit sales and total revenues.

NMMA Canada notes that total combined revenues for the recreational boating industry continue to hold at about c$8.9bn annually, representing a GDP contribution of about c$5bn. Viewed as a whole, the recreational boating industry in Canada represents approximately 1,300 marinas, 400 manufacturers, and thousands of firms involved with boat sales and service. Collectively, these companies employ nearly 70,000 people representing almost c$2.6bn in employment income.

Note: This is an excerpt of the latest report on the Canadian market that appeared in the October issue of IBI magazine. IBI Plus subscribers can download the full report from IBI Plus website.