Total industry turnover reached A$8.47bn in 2017/18

The latest survey of the Australian recreational marine industry for 2017/18, commissioned by the Boating Industry Association (BIA), underpins the growing strength of the leisure marine sector in the country. The survey states: “The boating industry has seen steady, healthy growth over the last three years, picking up from a downturn in 2013-15.”

The survey shows that total industry turnover during the 2017-18 period rose to A$8.47bn. The sector accounts for 27,685 direct jobs with many thousands more within the Australian tourism industry. There are more than 2,250 businesses active in the boating industry.

In terms of the industry composition by activity, the BIA survey shows the following:

Industry Compostion by Activity
New boat sales 15%
Charter operators 13%
Mooring/marinas 12%
Yard services 11%
Engine sales 11%
Used boat sales 10%
Retail/wholesale 10%
Boatbuilding 6%
Manufacturing 6%
Professional 3%
Other 3%

Of the 2,250-plus companies, 70% expect to grow in the next 12 months. The breakdown of the industry’s turnover is shown by the survey as:

Industry Composition by Turnover
Under A$250,000 15%
A$250-500,000 13%
A$500,000-1m 17%
A$1-2m 16%
A$2-5m 20%
A$5-10m 10%
A$10-20m 3%
A$20-50m 4%
More than A$50m 2%

The employment profile shows that the recreational marine market is predominantly comprised of small companies with up to five employees. By contrast there are a small number of larger companies with 50 or more employees. The employment profile is as follows:

Company Profile by Employment
Sole traders 10%  
< 5 employees 39%  
6-10 employees 22%  
11-15 employees 8%  
16-20 employees 4%  
21-25 employees 3%  
26-50 employees 7%  
> 50 employees 7%  

Australia is a major boating nation and two million of its 24 million population have a boating licence. There are 900,000 registered boats with 14,500 new registrations a year. Non-powered boats are the largest growing section of the industry and there are 700,000 PWCs, which is the fastest growing part of the powered-boat sector. Over 90% of the Australian boating industry is accounted for by trailer boats.

The survey shows the breakdown by state of boat licences and boat registrations, which is as follows:

Queensland 704,000 262,000
New South Wales 517,000 234000
Victoria 405,000 193,000 
South Australia 281000 58,000
Western Australia 243,000 102,000
Tasmania 57,000 31,000
Northern territories No data