CHICAGO—The National Marine Manufacturers Association reported that retail unit sales of new powerboats in the U.S. hit a 13-year high in 2020. NMMA reported sales in 2020 increased by an estimated 12 percent compared to 2019. More than 310,000 new powerboats were sold in 2020, levels the recreational boating industry has not seen since before the Great Recession in 2008, according to NMMA.
“2020 was an extraordinary year for new powerboat sales as more Americans took to the water to escape pandemic stress and enjoy the outdoors safely,” NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer said in a released statement. “For the first time in more than a decade, we saw an increase in first-time boat buyers, who helped spur growth of versatile, smaller boats – less than 26 feet – that are often towed to local waterways and provide a variety of boating experiences, from fishing to watersports.”
Sales of personal watercraft, including Jet Ski, Sea Doo and WaveRunner; sales of wake boats; and sales of freshwater fishing boats and pontoons boats, drove record retail unit sales in 2020, according to NMMA.
NMMA expects boat sales to remain at historic levels in 2021 as manufacturers continue to fill a backlog of orders from 2020. Pandemic-related supply chain constraints curbed powerboat production and shipments for several months in 2020, which are expected to subside and restore marine manufacturing to normal levels this year.
“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 said.