The boat industry appears to be on the rebound.
Retails sales for recreational boats, accessories and marine services increased 6 percent to $32.billion in 2011 – the first increase in five years -- according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
And boating participation increased 10 percent to 83 million.
The association said the new data signals the beginning of a recovery for the boat industry.
Here’s more from an association news release:
Leading a recovery are sales of aluminum power boats (primarily fishing and pontoon boats), which were up 4 percent in 2011. There were 77,150 aluminum power boats sold in 2011. The Top 10 ten states for aluminum power boat retail sales were (in order of highest to lowest): Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.
“Pent-up demand for boats following years of diminished willingness to spend by consumers, improved credit availability for buyers and boating businesses, positive shifts in consumer confidence and an overall interest in the benefits of the boating lifestyle are steering the industry toward recovery,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “Americans’ passion for enjoying the boating lifestyle is taking precedent as they put aside concerns about the economy in favor of creating lifelong memories with loved ones.”
Data from NMMA shows the recreational boating industry continues to be predominantly comprised of small boats, which includes the aluminum power boat segment: 95 percent of the 12.4 million registered boats in the U.S. in 2011 were 26 feet or less in size. Boats less than 26 feet are most often taken by trailer to local bodies of water, in contrast to boats which are 26 feet in length and larger and typically docked at marinas. The size of the boats Americans purchase is relative to boater income: 83 percent of all boat owners in the U.S. in 2011 had an annual household income less than $100,000.
Anticipating what 2012 will bring the association data suggests continued slow growth: A survey, in conjunction with Foresight Research, of 3,100 boaters and non-boaters from December 2011 shows an estimated 15.2 percent of the 237.7 million adults living in the U.S. are actively engaged in shopping/planning to purchase a boat in 2012. This is an increase from 10 percent in 2010.