The Australian boating industry generated turnover of A$8.28bn in 2016/17, according to the latest statistics issued by the country’s Boating Industry Association (BIA). The figures, issued at the Marine17 conference in Sydney, show that 25,340 people are employed in the industry plus many thousands more in tourism jobs.

According to the statistics, more than 2,250 businesses are active in Australia’s recreational boating industry. Of these, 40% are small companies employing less than five people and 21% have between six and 10 people. Another 15% have between 11 and 20 plus a further 3% between 21 and 50 employees. Only 7% of the total has over 50 people and the remaining 7% are sole traders.

The BIA reports that with boating being one of the most popular pastimes in the country, over two million people hold a boat licence. There are 900,000 registered boats plus as many again with paddle craft, stand-up paddle boards and sailing dinghies. There is an average of 15,000 new registrations every year and there are 68,000 PWCs, which is the fastest-growing sector of powered vessels.

In terms of licenses and registered boats by state, the following statistics were shown:

  • Queensland: 694,000 licences, 256,000 registered boats
  • NSW: 515,000 licences, 233,000 registered boats
  • Victoria: 405,000 licences, 193,000 registered boats
  • Tasmania: 57,000 licences, 31,000 registered boats
  • Southern Australia: 280,000 licences, 58,000 registered boats
  • Western Australia: 234,000 licences, 104,000 registered boats

The Northern Territories does not have a boat registration or licensing schemes.

The BIA also made known to Marine17 delegates that, later this week at the Sydney International Boat Show, it will launch a new ‘Advance Skipper’ qualification project that will serve to give boat owners a refresher course. The BIA hopes to sign up 10,000 for this by the end of 2017 and 100,000 by the end of 2018.