New powerboat shipments reached 276,000 units

As the unofficial start of the US boating season gets underway this holiday weekend, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports that new powerboat sales for 2018 increased 4% over the previous year to 276,000 units, the highest level in 11 years.

Overall marine expenditures – boats, engines, accessories and related services – were up 7% in 2018, at US$42bn, which is an all-time high.

Wakesport boats led the fleet with a 10% increase in 2018, equating to 10,500 new units. Personal watercraft (PWC) – often considered the “gateway” to boat ownership, increased 8%, followed by jet boat sales (4%), and cruisers in the 22ft-32ft range (3%).

Outboard-powered boat sales were up by 177,600 units, or 3%, reflective of the move in the industry away from sterndrive power to outboards.

“Sales of new boats and boating expenditures have been on a consistent upward climb for eight years, with some segments reaching pre-recession sales volumes,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president, in a statement. “With consumer confidence high, unemployment low, wages on the rise and interest rates holding level, we anticipate the recreational boating market to remain healthy in the year ahead with modest growth of up to 2% in new powerboat unit sales in 2019.”