Boating is More Affordable Than Ever Before

On The Water

Did you know that 76 percent of all boat owners have a household income of under $100,000? The reason that boating is more affordable today has a lot to do with a culture shift in the marine industry to get people out on the water.

Time with your family is precious and what a better way to spend that time than out on the water. With fuel prices declining and an increased focus on technology, there’s never been a better time to go boating.

New technology and innovation have encouraged boaters of all ages to follow in the footsteps of their family traditions or get out on the water for the first time.

U.S. recreational boating facts and figures (source: NMMA):

  • Recreational boating in the US is a $35 billion industry and creates 338,526 marine industry jobs (manufacturing, dealers/wholesalers, services) at 34,833 marine industry businesses.
  • Recreational boating retail expenditures (new and pre-owned boats and engines, trailers, accessories and services including fuel, repair, storage, insurance, taxes) increased 10 percent in 2012 to $35.6 billion.
  • Retail sales of new powerboats increased 10.1 percent in 2012.
  • Retail sales of new power and sailboats increased 10.7 percent in 2012 to 163,245 boats, demonstrating the first significant sign of a post-recession recovery for the industry.
  • It’s not just new boats Americans are buying. There were an estimated 969,000 pre-owned boats (power, PWCs, and sail) sold in 2012, an increase of 6 percent from 2011.
  • Americans are taking to the water in record numbers: Of the 232.3 million adults in the US in 2012, 37.8 percent, or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during the year. This is a 6 percent increase from 2011 and the largest number of US adults participating in boating since NMMA began collecting the data in 1990.
  • There were an estimated 12.1 million registered boats (power, sail, and some canoes/kayaks and other non-powered boats) in the U.S. in 2012.
  • Fishing remains the number one (63 percent) boating activity current participants engaged in while boating in 2012; 20 percent went tubing, 17 percent went waterskiing and 9 percent went wakeboarding for a total of 46 percent who participated in watersports (tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding).
  • 95 percent of the boats on the water are 26 feet or less.