NMMA: U.S. boat exports declined in 2016

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Boat exports from the United States fell 13.5 percent to a record low $1.2 billion in 2016, primarily reflecting a strong dollar, which was at a 14-year high.

As of Dec. 31, the U.S. dollar was worth 1.34 Canadian dollars and 0.95 euros. That was up from trading at 0.99 Canadian dollars and 0.95 euros in 2012.

Canada and Western Europe were the top two export destinations for boats and engines; exports to those two regions accounted for 55.3 percent of total exports, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Meanwhile, boat and marine engine imports moderated in 2016 to $2.9 billion after six consecutive years of gains, down 2.3 percent from 2015.

Nonetheless, this was the second-highest value historically recorded, the NMMA reported in its newest section of the Statistical Abstract.

The import decline in 2016 primarily reflected a $258.5 million decrease in imports of inboard cruisers larger than 26 feet.

Sterndrive boat imports increased by $45.1 million in 2016, to a record high of $200.6 million, largely because of a $22.8 million increase in imports from Taiwan.

Similarly, imports of other boats, which include personal watercraft primarily from Mexico, resulted in a $53.6 million increase in other boat imports to an eight-year high of $316.2 million.

In 2016, the United States remained a net exporter of outboard boats, sterndrive boats, and other watercraft, including PWC.

Traditional powerboats — outboard-, inboard-, and sterndrive-propelled — made up 58.1 percent (or $684.4 million) of total boat export value and 65.5 percent (or $1.1 billion) of total boat import value in 2016.

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