As interest grew for outdoor recreational activities in 2020, so did the demand for new boats across the U.S. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), sales of new powerboats in the U.S reached a 13-year high in 2020. Last year, boat sales increased by an estimated 12% compared to the previous year (2019). Over 310,000 new powerboats sold, numbers that the industry hasn’t seen since before the great recession in 2008. Also, annual U.S. boat sales, marine products, and services are estimated to total $47 billion in 2020, an increase of nine percent from 2019.
The increase in boat sales is mostly due to the ongoing pandemic; more Americans turned to recreational boating last year as a means to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends safely. “For the first time in more than a decade, we saw an increase in first-time boat buyers,” stated Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president. Not only are more people enjoying the benefits of boating, but increased sales are leading to greater job stability in the industry. The recreational boating industry supports 691,149 American jobs and 35,277 American businesses.
Boat sales expect to remain at record-breaking levels following into 2021. Many manufacturers are still working to complete backlog orders from 2020. In addition, social distancing safety measures are expected to remain in place well into quarter one of 2021. “We expect consumer interest in boating to remain strong through 2021 and beyond, with millions of Americans discovering the mental health benefits and joys of being outside and on the water,” -Hugelmeyer.