Domestic boat sales reach $37B before winter boat show season | SummitDaily.com

Domestic boat sales reach $37B before winter boat show season

Hard to believe Lake Dillon sailors will be back on the water again in five short months.

Like the ski industry, the U.S. boating industry hits a fever pitch months before the start of the season, beginning with boat shows and sales across the nation. The National Marine Manufacturers Association, representing the nation's recreational boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers, announced in mid-January that it expects unit sales of new powerboats to increase between 6 and 7 percent in 2016, reaching an estimated 250,000 boats sold this year as consumer confidence soars and manufacturers introduce products to attract younger boaters. In addition to unit sales of new boats, recreational boating industry dollar sales (boats, services and products) are expected to rise roughly 3 percent from $36 billion in 2015 to $37 billion for 2016.

As one of the few remaining American-made industries — 95 percent of boats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S. — recreational boating is seeing some of its healthiest gains in nearly a decade, according to the release from NMMA. The organization expects this upward trend to continue through 2018.

"With the U.S. boating industry having one of its strongest years in the last decade, and manufacturers saying, 'We're back!', it's likely we will reflect on this period as a golden age for our economy and our industry," said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. "Economic indicators are working in the industry's favor: a continuously improving housing market, strong consumer confidence, growing disposable income and consumer spending, and low interest rates all contribute to a healthy recreational boating market."

For the coming season, NMMA expects the 'sharing economy' trend to continue with Air B&B-style services for boats. Companies like Boatsetter, Boatbound, Sailo and GetMyBoat are listed on DiscoverBoating.com, the NMMA industry portal, which helps beginners find ways to get on the water affordably. For more info on NMMA and this season's industry predictions, see nmma.org.