Trade group says boat sales reach 13-year high
CHICAGO -- With heightened interest in outdoor recreation activities and ways to social distance, consumer demand for new boats surged across the country in 2020. The National Marine Manufacturers Association reports that retail unit sales of new powerboats in the U.S. increased last year by an estimated 12% 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, said the Chicago-based association, which represents North American recreational boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers.
"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," said Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president. "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 water sports."