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NMMA: US boat manufacturers are operating at 13% above normal levels

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The soaring demand for boats in the US, due in part to the increase in fishing participation, shows no sign of letting up any day soon.

And manufacturers are responding by ramping up production facilities and expanding premises to keep pace.

Brunswick Corporation and Correct Craft announced significant expansions earlier this year, while last month the pontoon builder, Bennington, acquired a near 44,000 square foot facility near its Elkhard, Indiana headquarters. The White River Marine Group, the marine manufacturing arm of Bass Pro Shops, has declared its expanded Missouri plant fully operational and will likely double Tracker’s pontoon output.

It was at this time last year that boat production came to a halt across the country, with builders and dealers shutting down due to the pandemic. Now the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports that manufacturers are shipping around 20,000 new boats a month and operating at 13% above normal levels.

Twenty nine states, some 56% of the market, reported February registrations up by 16% in the main powerboat categories. Total industry registrations are up 28% year-on-year, with 21,741 boats sold, and that number will grow as the rest of the states file their data.

“There is still high demand,” said Ryan Kloppe, Statistical Sales Director for Statistical Surveys, a Michigan firm tracking new boat registrations. “As long as manufacturers can continue to build boats there are people waiting to buy them.”

Florida unsurprisingly recorded the largest number of registrations at 3,676, a 49% gain on the 2,459 in the previous year. Texas and North Carolina were second and third, while the biggest leap came in Louisiana, where a 56% increase saw it rise to sixth place.

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