Boating on upswing; up 26 percent in U.S. during last five years

WASHINGTON (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — National Marine Manufacturer’s Association President Thom Dammrich says that the boating industry, and outdoor recreation as a whole, continues to see growth across the country.

“And while this progress is wonderful for boating,” Dammrich told The Log News Service Aug. 5, “there is more to be done on Capitol Hill to ensure this trend continues for generations to come.

A strong economy coupled with job growth must be secured to protect the health of the boating industry. NMMA is committed to continuing our work with members of Congress on broad issues as well as those specific to our industry to ensure that a strong boating industry can grow for years to come,” he said.

During a briefing to staff members of the Congressional Boating Caucus on Capitol Hill July 30 Dammrich pointed out that in the last five years recreational boating is up 26 percent, fishing is up 11 percent and that 88 million Americans went boating in 2013.

“Boat manufacturing is uniquely an American industry,” he said, “with 95 percent of the powerboats sold in the United States built in the United States.”

And contrary to the misconception that boating is only a rich man’s sport,

Dammrich said that 95 percent of all the boats in use are less than 26 feet long and that 78 percent of boaters have a household income of less than $100,000.

The U.S. boating industry generated about $121 billion in value in 2012, Dammrich said. It also supports 964,000 American jobs and 34,833 businesses. Plus it generates $40 billion in labor income and $83 billion in annual spending.

Joining Dammrich during the briefing was Margaret Podlich, president of the Boat Owners Association of the United States.

“Boating is not an activity for only the 1 percent,” Podlich said, “it’s for everyone from truck drivers to elementary school teachers, and we need to keep that in mind when we start talking policies and regulations.”

“To enable boating to continue to be a $121 billion industry in this country, we need smart long-term sustainable policy on everything from ethanol to dredging,” she said.

The Congressional Boating Caucus is an informal, bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives formed in 1989 to advocate the interests of the recreational boating industry. It seeks to improve economic conditions that negatively impact the industry, protect our nation’s waterways for the millions of American boaters.

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