Is there no stopping the boom in US boat sales? New purchases reached an all-time high in 2020 and now the latest sales figures this year are leaving last year in their wake.
Propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic that drove people on to the water, sales through March 2021 were up 30% compared to the previous year’s average, says an announcement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). And one of the high points for the angling industry was that sales of freshwater fishing boats accounted for 45% of new powerboats sold in 2020, an increase of 13% to 144,700 units. New data from the NMMA shows that 415,000 first-time boat buyers entered the market in 2020, with purchasers becoming younger and more likely to be women. In addition, the industry’s recruitment resource, Discover Boating, saw a 56% increase in traffic year-on-year through May, with 90% growth among 18-24-year-olds in the same month.
“As the country returns to normal, people are reassessing how they spend their quality time, and many are continuing to choose boating as the preferred choice of recreation,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA President. “All signs point to boating demand and boat sales remaining strong as more people discover the mental health benefits, joys and freedoms of being outside and on the water. Boating has seen an increase in more diverse first-time boat buyers who are helping drive sales of versatile, smaller boats that provide a variety of boating experiences, from fishing to watersports.”
According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, boating and fishing are the largest outdoor recreation activities in the US.