Boating industry sailing along in tough economy

Published online: Jan 03, 2012 News
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It may not feel that way, but this week will see the start of the boating season as the New York Boat Show sails in to the Javits Center on Manhattan's Westside.

Despite the struggling economy the boating industry has seen some positive things and will look at the numbers this week in the hopes of seeing the rebound continue in their industry.
The trends this past year for boaters have looked like this:

New outboard boats, including aluminum fishing, pontoon, and small fiberglass cruising boats are selling. Retail sales are up 6 percent through the second quarter of 2011. This could be a sign of entry-level buyers coming back and looking to start out with small/entry-level boats.

Manufacturers anticipate continued growth in entry-level outboard fishing and cruising boats; through September shipments to dealers are up 18 percent over last year.

Manufacturers also are betting on a growing interest in ski and wakeboard boats; through September, shipments to dealers are up 20 percent over last year.

Here are some more facts and figures from the boating industry to rap your mind around:
Recreational boating generated an estimated $30 billion in sales and services in 2010. Of the 231.5 million adults living in the U.S. in 2010, 75 million people went boating. This is the highest proportion of participation since 1999.

Despite the recession, Americans bought 1,118,130 (new and used) boats in 2010. The majority of these (83 percent) were used, signaling that Americans aren't willing to forego boating during economic downturns yet look for lower price points in the pre-owned market.

There are an estimated 17 million boats in use in the U.S.

Accessory sales increased 6 percent to $2.4 billion in 2010 (from $2.3 billion in 2009) as boaters outfitted their 17 million boats with the latest gear.

Nearly 38,600 boating businesses employ more than 353,600 U.S. workers.

Also, here is something you do not hear often, 92 percent of the boats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S.!

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